According to reports from Calcio Mercato, Sampdoria have held talks with the agent of Arsenal and Manchester United target Daniele Rugani to discuss a loan move for the January transfer window.
The 21-year-old centre-back is regarded as one of the most exciting defensive prospects in Italian football, having played an integral role in Empoli finishing eight points above relegation last season by featuring in every minute of their Serie A campaign.
Empoli is Rugani’s boyhood club, but he’s been on Juventus’ books since 2013 and was loaned back to the Mapei Stadium for the last two seasons. He returned to Turin during the summer and was expected to challenge Giorgio Chiellini, Andrea Barzagli and Leonardo Bonucci for a starting berth, but has thus far made just one senior outing for the Old Lady – a stoppage time substitute stint against Sevilla in the Champions League.
Arsenal saw a £13million bid for the Italy U21 rejected during the summer and have been tipped to revive their interest amid his apparent disillusionment under manager Massimo Allegri – whilst Premier League title rivals Manchester United are also known long-term admirers.
An unnamed source believed to be close to Rugani said in October; “Of course, if Arsenal or other important English clubs want to buy him with the right offer, the player will be more than happy to move. He has the skill, physique and perfect attitude for the Premier League and will be very happy to play in the United Kingdom for top English teams.”
It has since been claimed the 6 foot 2 centre-half will ask to leave Juventus in the coming transfer window in search of more playing time. Juventus at first seemed disinterested in accepting his proposal but fearing that they could alienate a talent tipped to one day become a permanence in their backline, they are now hoping to appease Rugani with a loan move to another Serie A club – Sampdoria.
According to Calcio Mercato, Sampdoria sporting director Carlo Osti met Rugani’s agent Davide Torchia in Milan to discuss a loan move from January onwards. The Genoa-based club would like to agree an 18-mont deal, but Juve are likely to only sanction a move until the end of the season.
That would end Arsenal and Manchester United’s interest for the time being, but the Italian prospect remains a long-term fixture on their radar and a name for Premier League fans to keep an ear out for.