Juventus could be forced to pick between Manuel Locatelli & Miralem Pjanic

Juventus may have to choose between signing Manuel Locatelli or Miralem Pjanic this summer, with the club’s budget not expected to stretch to both unless other sales are made first.

Having resurrected his club career with Sassuolo after leaving AC Milan at a young age, Locatelli has emerged as a major target since impressing for Italy at Euro 2020.

Arsenal are also interested in the 23-year-old, but his preference is known to be Juve. The Premier League side are thought to be willing to offer more and meet Sassuolo’s €40m asking price, with Juve’s initial approach taking the form of a loan plus €30m obligation to buy.

Unsurprisingly, the latter wasn’t deemed acceptable by Sassuolo, but an agreement between the two Serie A sides has since been described as ‘close’.

The possibility of Pjanic returning to Juve has also surfaced. The Bosnia international moved to Barcelona only last summer as part of a deal that saw Arthur head to Turin, a transfer arrangement designed to help ease Barça’s dire financial situation.

Miralem PjanicMiralem Pjanic

Miralem Pjanic has been linked with a return to Juventus / Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

But with the Catalans still desperate to raise cash and slash wage costs in order to comply with La Liga’s salary cap rules, which currently prevent them from registering Lionel Messi’s new contract, Pjanic is one of those earmarked for sale and Juve could take advantage.

Pjanic was a success during four trophy-lade seasons in Turin and the possibility of his return has already been rumoured to have met the approval of returning head coach Massimiliano Allegri.

But Football Italia cites Fabrizio Romano to suggest that signing both midfielders isn’t possible for Juve. It might be different if Aaron Ramsey is sold to generate some cash and free up space on the wage bill, although earlier reports on Pjanic in Spain hinted that selling Ramsey could be a minimum requirement to get just one new midfielder in this summer.

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Potential Premier League destinations for Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey could be on the move this summer as Juventus seek to remove his big contract from their wage bill, paving the way for a potential return to the Premier League.

Ramsey is already rumoured to rebuffed interest from Wolves, after seemingly been ‘not convinced’ by the project on offer at Molineux. But it is still possible to make a case for the 30-year-old to join a handful of other Premier League clubs.

The Wales international will likely have to entertain taking a pay cut on what he has been earning in Turin, but that has previously been rumoured not to be an issue if the club is the right one.

Here’s a look at six possible clubs he could consider joining ahead of the new season…

Aaron RamseyAaron Ramsey

Ramsey has been linked with a return to former club Arsenal / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Arsenal want to add an attacking midfielder to their squad, with James Maddison and Martin Odegaard the chief targets for the role because they fit the club’s criteria of being under 25, as well as having the potential to both improve as players and increase in value.

But if such pursuits prove too difficult to pull off this summer, an approach for Ramsey could be a more straightforward short-term option to tide the Gunners over for another year.

It would represent a ‘homecoming’ for the Welshman after spending 11 years with the club from the age of 17 and many fans were sad to see him leave 2019.

Aston Villa have spent big on Emi Buendia but could use reinforcements in midfieldAston Villa have spent big on Emi Buendia but could use reinforcements in midfield

Aston Villa have spent big on Emi Buendia but could use reinforcements in midfield / Malcolm Couzens/Getty Images

Aston Villa have shown plenty of ambition since returning to the Premier League in 2019, spending upwards of £60m combined on attackers Emi Buendia and Leon Bailey alone.

Meanwhile, Ross Barkley has returned to parent club Chelsea since his season-long loan ended, leaving Villa with a void to fill in central midfield.

Villa finished last season in 11th place in the Premier League and in 2021/22 will be targeting an improved top half finish and potentially European qualification for the first time in a decade.

Joe WillockJoe Willock

Newcastle may need to consider alternatives to re-signing Joe Willock / Stu Forster/Getty Images

Trading one set of black and white stripes for another? Newcastle are rumoured to be interested in Ramsey given that uncertainty remains over whether Joe Willock will return for a second spell.

Willock made a huge impact on loan from Arsenal in the latter half of last season, but the Gunners appear keen to keep him in north London, leaving Newcastle to consider alternatives.

A player of Ramsey’s proven Premier League quality could be the difference for a Magpies side that finished 12th last season and hasn’t finished higher than 10th since 2012.

David MoyesDavid Moyes

David Moyes’ West Ham may need additional depth after qualifying for the Europa League / Henry Browne/Getty Images

West Ham are breaking new ground for themselves this season after qualifying for the Europa League group stage and could be boosted by additions with European experience.

The extra depth could also crucial for the Hammers if they are to compete in Europe without it harming their Premier League campaign, as could easily be the case.

Looking slightly further ahead, this season will be Mark Noble’s last with West Ham and securing a replacement while a good opportunity is there could be worth taking.

Fabio ParaticiFabio Paratici

Fabio Paratici previously took Ramsey to Juventus / Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

Joining Tottenham might be seen as the ultimate betrayal to Arsenal, but Ramsey has been linked with Spurs, whose new sporting director Fabio Paratici took him to Juventus.

Ramsey has previously ruled out playing for Spurs at some point in his career, responding with a clear ‘no’ when the question was put to him in 2018.

But circumstances change, people change and he was still an Arsenal player at that time. If Spurs is his best or only offer, could he realistically afford to say ‘no’ for real?

James RodriguezJames Rodriguez

New Everton manager Rafa Benitez isn’t a fan of James Rodriguez / James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images

New Everton manager Rafa Benitez is not thought to be a fan of James Rodriguez, favouring a setup that doesn’t have to make concessions for luxury attacking players.

If Ramsey buys into Everton’s ambitions, which includes a brand-new stadium in the near future, it could be an attractive opportunity with European football within reach.

For all the investment and big money signings in recent years, the Toffees have only qualified for European football twice since David Moyes left in 2013 and that has to change.

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Ilaix Moriba rejects Barcelona contract offer & could now be sold

Barcelona midfielder Ilaix Moriba looks increasingly likely to leave Camp Nou after rejecting the club’s offer of a new contract, president Joan Laporta has confirmed.

Barça have had high hopes for Moriba after he burst onto the scene in the second half of last season and made 18 appearances for the first-team, including four starts in La Liga.

However, the youngster’s current contract is due to expire in 2022 and he has informed the club that he doesn’t wish to sign a new one with the terms that are on the table.

“He has a year on his deal and doesn’t want to renew with the conditions offered by the club,” Laporta said as he explained the situation to the media.

“We have to send a message,” the president continued, hinting that Barça will refuse to bend over backwards to keep the 18-year-old. “He’s a great player but if he doesn’t renew there are other solutions. I feel bad but the club comes first.

“I ask him to reconsider and come to an agreement. I don’t understand why he doesn’t recognise what Barça have done for him.”

Laporta added that Moriba will be allowed to leave, but only if a club makes a suitable offer.

It was reported over the weekend that Barça have become ‘fed up’ of Moriba’s contract demands and have no intention of improving their offer to meet said demands, as Laporta has now alluded to.

Moriba has been left out of Barça’s pre-season trip to Germany and Austria, while it has been suggested that he will be excluded from first-team training until he signs the contract on offer.

Meanwhile, Barcelona and Lionel Messi have reached ‘total agreement’ over a new contract at Camp Nou.

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Giorgio Chiellini signs new Juventus contract until 2023

Juventus legend Giorgio Chiellini has signed a new two-year contract with the club until the summer of 2023, taking his time with the club into a 16th and 17th season.

Chiellini, who will shortly turn 37, has technically been a free agent since the start of July when his old contract expired. But following a heroic role captaining Italy to Euro 2020 glory, Juve have seen fit to offer him a new deal that will run until he is almost 39.

The defender spent his youth at Livorno and joined Juve outright in 2005 after initially being the subject of a co-ownership deal with Fiorentina and spending the 2004/05 season with La Viola.

He properly established himself as a starter during the 2006/07 campaign that Juve spent in Serie B following the Calciopoli scandal and never looked back.

Chiellini has since won nine Serie A titles, five Coppa Italia trophies and played in the 2017 Champions League final – injury had earlier ruled him out of the 2015 final.

An ACL injury and other subsequent fitness problems limited Chiellini to only four appearances in all competitions in 2019/20, but he returned to full fitness in the second half of last season, before going on to underline his status as an Italian legend at Euro 2020.

An injury in Italy’s second group match against Switzerland forced him to miss the next two games, only for him to return and play every minute of the quarter-final, semi-final and final against Belgium, Spain and England respectively, with the latter two going all the way to penalties.

Chiellini is keen on playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and remaining with Juve should help with that target.

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Southampton complete signing of Chelsea talent Tino Livramento

Southampton have completed the signing of teenage Chelsea full-back Tino Livramento, who has signed a five-year contract at St Mary’s.

Livramento, who was named on Chelsea’s bench for two Premier League games towards the end of last season, had earlier confirmed his decision to leave the Blues is in order to take the ‘next big step’ in his career and further his development.

“I’ve been discussing with my dad about what we thought was best for my future. We felt like this was the right time for it to happen and for me to move on,” the 18-year-old said once his move to the south coast was made official.

“To have interest from a few top clubs, to choose Southampton was sort of a no-brainer. They are a solid Premier League club and the manager was quite a big factor as to why I wanted to come here and why I wanted to play for Southampton.”

Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl commented: “I am very pleased we have been able to secure Tino’s signing. He is one of the best young players in his position in the country and there were a lot of clubs who were interested in signing him, but finally he chose to join us.

 “I think he has made a very good choice, and this will be an excellent place for him to continue his development and hopefully reach his full potential.

 “He is very much in line with the profile of player we want and I think he will adapt very well to our system and methods. To be around the first team of Chelsea at his age speaks about his ability.”

Livramento will wear Southampton’s number 21 shirt and provide competition and cover for Kyle Walker-Peters, who was until now the only recognised right-back in the first-team squad.

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