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Arsenal locked in talks trying to thrash out deal after submitting bid for £17m star

By on June 15, 2021

According to ESPN, Arsenal are locked in talks with Anderlecht trying to thrash out a deal for Albert Sambi Lokonga after seeing an opening £12.9m bid rejected.

Mikel Arteta needs to bring in at least two new midfielders this summer as Granit Xhaka is expected to seal a move to Italy while Dani Ceballos has returned to Real Madrid following the end of his loan.

Out of favour players such as Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi and Ainsley Maitland-Niles are also set to leave Arsenal so we need reinforcements in the middle of the park.

Lokonga has emerged as a prime target and it appears we’ve now formalised out interest as ESPN are one of several outlets claiming that Arsenal have tabled an opening offer worth £12.9m.

According to the report, the bid has been knocked back but Anderlecht have made it clear a fee in the region of £17.2m would be enough to get an agreement in place for the youngsters signature.

Understandably, Arsenal are trying to drive that asking price down and ESPN says negotiations are on-going between the two clubs as we prepare to make an improved offer.

Lokonga has two years left on his contract and is keen to leave this summer so Anderlecht are going to be under pressure to cash-in as his value will drop dramatically when he has just one year left next summer.

Xhaka replacement?

granit xhaka arsenal

That will give Arsenal confidence they can strike a deal lower than Anderlecht’s £17.2m valuation but ESPN does say we could yet face competition from rival clubs, so we shouldn’t mess about too much or we risk losing out.

Lokonga has been with Anderlecht his entire career having come through their youth system and he’s become one of the most exciting young talents in Belgian football since breaking into the first team in 2019.

The 21-year-old is on the Belgian stand-by list for Euro 2020 after impressing during his 37 appearances for Anderlecht last season so it certainly sounds like he has a bright future in the game.

The obvious concern is whether he’s ready to be a regular for Arsenal yet and I personally think Lokonga is being eyed as back-up for Thomas Partey as they have similar playing profiles.

If that’s accurate, then I’d expect Arsenal to also sign a more established partner for Partey who’d act as a direct replacement for Xhaka. Yves Bissouma has been strongly linked and he’d be an excellent addition to the squad.

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