Barcelona has inquired about the availability of Sassuolo and Italian midfielder Manuel Locatelli, according to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo (via The Hard Tackle).
Locatelli has been rumored to be close to joining Juventus after turning down the chance to play in the Premier League with Arsenal.
The 23-year-old's stock has never been this high. Locatelli played a vital role in Italy's Euro 2020 campaign, which saw the Azzurri win the title against home favorites England.
Ever since joining Sassuolo from AC Milan in 2018, Manuel Locatelli's career has had a revival.
The midfielder has made 99 appearances for the Serie A side, scoring seven goals along the way. This recent good form has attracted a host of European giants, with Barcelona being the latest addition to the list.
Barcelona will have to offload fringe players to sign new ones
Barcelona is in the market to sign a new midfielder after losing out on Georginio Wijnaldum to Paris Saint-Germain.
The Catalan giants need a new central midfielder to replace an aging Sergio Busquets while also finding an alternative to midfielders who are surplus to requirements.
Barcelona does not see the likes of Miralem Pjanic and Philippe Coutinho in their plans for next season and is likely to sell the pair in the ongoing transfer window. The Blaugrana is in financial turmoil at the moment, and this would require them to sell players before signing new ones.
Pjanic was the subject of interest from Juventus before Massimiliano Allegri decided to stick with Aaron Ramsey as a defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 system.
Barcelona's interest in Manuel Locatelli, however, is surprising. The Camp Nou outfit might not be able to afford a player worth €40 million in the current scenario.
However, a few player sales and current footballers agreeing to lower their wages could make the deal possible.
Manuel Locatelli is not the only midfielder Barcelona have been linked with. The likes of Saul Niguez and Donny van de Beek have also been rumored to be on Barcelona's watchlist.
Related: David James' column - Ranking the 5 best signings made in the transfer window so far