Manuel Locatelli
Manuel Locatelli is a transfer target for ArsenalGetty

Arsenal have stepped up their interest in AC Milan midfielder Manuel Locatelli and are preparing a move in the summer transfer window. The 18-year-old is heavily rated and has been touted as "Milan's playmaker of the future" by Milan's secretary Silvio Berlusconi.

Goal reports that the Gunners have been tracking the midfielder for several months with Arsene Wenger being a huge fan of his talent. There has been contact between the player and Arsenal but the Gunners are yet to take their interest forward with Milan, who are desperate to hold on to the teenager.

Milan have reportedly given him assurances over first-team football, something which will be difficult for the Gunners to promise, as they have a pool of talent waiting in the fringes. However, Wenger will be hoping that the chance given to youngsters like Alex Iwobi and Hector Bellerin will shift the tide in his favour.

The 18-year-old prodigy is yet to make a full start for the Serie A giants, but has been in and around the first team, while playing regularly for the Milan and Italy youth teams. Arsenal first-team coach Neil Benfield has personally scouted the player and believes that he will be the one to look out for in the future.

Meanwhile, speaking ahead of their game against West Ham United on Saturday, 9 April, Wenger had some good news on the injury front, with Aaron Ramsey likely to be back on the bench after missing the last few weeks through a thigh injury. Jack Wilshere, who has not played a single game since breaking his fibula in pre-season, will also feature for the U-21 squad taking on Newcastle on Friday, 8 April.

The Gunners are all but out of the title race, with Leicester City currently 11 points ahead, albeit having played a game more, but defender Per Mertesacker believes that the Gunners could still have a chance to close the gap if they win their remaining seven games.