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Real Madrid ‘view Manuel Locatelli as Jude Bellingham alternative’

Real Madrid ‘view Manuel Locatelli as Jude Bellingham alternative’

Real Madrid have reportedly identified on-loan Juventus midfielder Manuel Locatelli as an alternative to Borussia Dortmund‘s Jude Bellingham.

Los Blancos are widely expected to move for a new central midfielder next year, with Toni Kroos and Luka Modric both out of contract in June 2023.

Bellingham continues to be heavily linked with a switch to Bernabeu, but there is also strong interest from Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Dortmund are thought to want around £130m for the England international, meanwhile, which Carlo Ancelotti‘s side are allegedly not prepared to pay for the 19-year-old.

Benfica‘s Enzo Fernandez is also thought to be a target, but the Portuguese giants are said to value him close to £100m, with Liverpool also believed to be chasing his signature.

Jude Bellingham in action for England on December 4, 2022© Reuters

According to AS, Locatelli has been identified as a cheaper option, with the Spanish and European champions considering a move for him next year.

The 23-year-old has been on loan at Juventus from Sassuolo since August 2021, with the Old Lady set to sign him on a permanent basis at the end of the campaign.

However, Los Blancos are believed to be confident of securing his services next year if they decide to actively pursue him.

Locatelli has been an important player for the Turin giants during the 2022-23 campaign, making 17 appearances in all competitions, including five outings in the group stage of the Champions League.

Manuel Locatelli in action for Juventus in August 2022© Reuters

In total, the Italy international has represented Juventus on 60 occasions, contributing three goals and five assists in the process.

Locatelli started his professional career with AC Milan, representing their first team between 2016 and 2019 before making the move to Sassuolo, initially on loan.

Modric is expected to be offered the chance to sign another short-term deal at Bernabeu despite the fact that the Croatia international will be 38 next year.

There is also on offer on the table for Kroos, but the 32-year-old is seemingly considering retiring from football.

Dani Ceballos is another Real Madrid midfielder out of contract next year, and it seems unlikely that the 26-year-old will be offered the chance to stay at the club.

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