Saturday, July 24, 2021

Donnarumma, Barella, Locatelli: What does the future hold for some of Italy’s European heroes?

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Breaking English hearts from the penalty spot on Sunday night, Italy lifted their second European title and their first since 1968 as they underlined what has been a stunning resurge under Roberto Mancini.

Eventually a worthy winner at Wembley and enjoying what was a real romp at this summer’s delayed European Championships, the former Manchester City boss has seen some of his champions enjoy a breakout tournament.

With shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma lifting the Player of the Tournament award following Sunday’s victory in North London, the defensive duo of veterans Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci have also received a string of praise.

With the start of the 2021/22 campaign only around the corner, we have taken a look at what the future holds for some of Italy’s newly-crowned champions when they return from their summer break.

Gianluigi Donnarumma

Lifting the Player of the Tournament award and cementing his spot in Italian folk law after his penalty spot heroics on Sunday night, there is no doubt that Donnarumma is regarded to be one of Europe’s top keepers.

Still just 22 years of age and now somewhat of a veteran in the Azzurri’s squad, it is Europe’s worst kept secret that the AC Milan shot-stopper will be heading to Paris on a free transfer ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

While an announcement has yet to be made by French giants PSG, it has long since been confirmed that Donnarumma has agreed on a deal that will see him join Mauricio Pochettino’s side in a matter of days.

Speaking to Sky Italia after Sunday’s European success on foreign soil, Europe’s most sought-after young keeper spoke about how tough the decision was to leave the San Siro after six years in the Rossoneri first-team.

Nicolò Barella

While both midfield partners Jorginho and Marco Verratti might have stolen a lot of the headlines this summer, Inter Milan star Nicolò Barella certainly cemented his spot as one of Europe’s breakout stories at this year’s delayed tournament.

Only gaining a string of plaudits from across Italy last season and playing a vital role in a Nerazzurri side that lifted their first Serie A crown in a decade, it has been reported that the 24-year-old is a man in demand.

With it no secret that Inter are dealing with some financial issues after seeing Achraf Hakimi secure a €60million move to PSG, Calciomercato journalist Enrico Camelio reported over the weekend that Liverpool are ready to test the Nerazzurri’s resolve.

Suggesting that the former Premier League champions have asked about the availability of Barella, it is believed that it would take a record-breaking deal if Inter were to be tempted into any kind of approach.

Manuel Locatelli

Although Manuel Locatelli might have had to settle for a spot on the bench at Wembley over the weekend, there is no doubt that the 23-year-old who has been another starlet that has gained a string of admirers from across Europe.

One of Italy’s standout performers, especially in their group stage run, it is no secret that Sassuolo have been vocal about the prospect of their prized asset making the move away from the Mapei Stadium before the window slams shut.

With Premier League outfit Arsenal declaring their interest last week, Sassuolo CEO Giovanni Carnevali announced that they were in “advanced negotiations” with one club regarding a potential deal for the 15-cap Italy international.

However, although the Gunners might have their sights set on bringing Locatelli to North London, they have been dealt somewhat of a blow with the highly-touted midfielder preferring a move to Juventus this summer.

Announcing that links to The Old Lady are “pleasing“, the Italian giants are now priced as low as 8/15 with Betfair to snatch his signature ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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