The idea that Fabio Paratici and Tottenham Hotspur could win the transfer of Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli is positive for Spurs’ future engine room.
With a new Managing Director of Football at the helm who came from Italy, we can expect new transfer rumors to connect Tottenham and various Italian clubs almost daily. Some rumors pick up steam and others fizzle out. One new rumor that would boost Spurs faithful and help in the middle of the park is Tottenham signing Sassuolo’s midfielder.
Locatelli the yin to Højbjerg’s yang
Manual Locatelli is a 23-year-old Italian midfielder. If you were not familiar with Locatelli and his work in Serie A before the start of Euro 2020, you likely are familiar with him now. Locatelli is the deep-lying playmaker that Tottenham needs and is the perfect complement to Pierre Højbjerg.
Locatelli is a true box-to-box player. The Italian is a midfielder who is equally comfortable standing a player up at the top of the penalty box to block a shot or make a tackle as he is playing a one-two at the top of the box for a shot or shot assist. Per 90 this past season, Locatelli had less than four fewer touches in the attacking third as he did in the defensive third.
Whereas Pierre Højbjerg often looks for the safe, smart pass, Locatelli looks for the creative, decisive pass. Whether a through ball up the seam or a little chip reminiscent of Christian Eriksen, the Italian has an eye for the pass. Crosses, corners, switches, the Toby ping; Locatelli has it all in the bag.
Beyond competence on the ball, and in possession, the man is stout defensively. Locatelli next to Højbjerg as the two deep midfielders would provide Tottenham with a ton of flexibility going forward and in defense. In short, that calm on the ball the team has missed since Mousa Dembele left would return.
Tottenham would have an excellent three-man rotation
What would be best about signing Locatelli is that it would give Spurs a natural replacement for Moussa Sissoko – who will hopefully move on. Add in the introduction of Oliver Skipp, who is something between Locatteli and Højbjerg, and you have yourself one heck of a deep midfield rotation.
Last season Tottenham struggled in the deep midfield finding the right foil for Højbjerg as Moussa Sissoko wore down. Ultimately Højbjerg wore down as well and Tottenham was left short. Even if Sissoko is sold, having Locatelli, Højbjerg, and Skipp should provide Spurs with all they need in terms of rotation in the deep midfield.
Locatelli is going to cost a bit more than Højbjerg, currently valued at $38.5 million (£27.3 million) according to transfermarkt.com. With rumors of interest from Chelsea, Manchester City, and Arsenal, among others, if Tottenham were to win his signature it would be a real win and a great fit.
Maybe Tottenham will not sign Locatelli when it is all said and done but he is exactly the kind of talent we would hope to be linked with under the new football management. Of course, signing the man would be even better, so let’s hope Paratici does it!