Arsenal could seal deal at £17m after tabling opening bid to sign exciting star
Arsenal will have to pay around £17m if they want to sign Albert Sambi Lokonga after seeing their opening £12.9m bid rejected
Arsenal have been told they can sign Albert Sambi Lokonga for around £17m [€20m] after seeing their opening £12.9m [€15m] bid knocked back by Anderlecht, according to Belgian outlet HLN.
Mikel Arteta is under pressure to build a squad capable of challenging for the top four next season after overseeing a disastrous campaign that saw the Gunners finish eighth in the Premier League and miss out on European qualification for the first time in over 25 years.
Arteta is expected to overhaul his squad this summer and midfield is a priority area of concern with Granit Xhaka expected to seal a move to Italy while Dani Ceballos has returned to Real Madrid following the end of his loan spell.
Lucas Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Matteo Guendouzi are also expected to leave Arsenal so Arteta is in the market for at least two new central midfielders and Lokonga has emerged as a prime transfer target.
Widespread reports in recent weeks have suggested Arsenal have been showing a keen interest in the 21-year-old and it appears they’ve now formalised their pursuit with HLN reporting that the Gunners have tabled an opening offer worth £12.9m [€15m] including bonuses.
However, the Belgian outlet says Anderlecht have already rejected Arsenal’s offer as several clubs from Germany and France are also keen on Lokonga so the Belgian giants are demanding a guaranteed fee of £17.2m [€20m].
Lokonga has indicated he’s keen to leave this summer and he’d no doubt be interested in a move to Arsenal but the North Londoners are going to have to dig a little deeper if they want to get a deal agreed.
Anderlecht are prepared to do business at the right price and are already preparing for Lokonga’s exit as they’re reportedly in talks to sign Fausto Vera as a direct replacement, but it remains to be seen whether Arsenal will meet the asking price.
Lokonga trained with the Belgian squad squad ahead of Euro 2021 and is regarded as one of their most talented young players so he’d be an exciting addition to Arteta’s squad if Arsenal could get this proposed move over the line.
The 6ft midfielder is known for his athleticism and for being an excellent ball carrier so he’s probably being eyed as a back-up for Thomas Partey rather than being signed as a direct replacement for Xhaka.
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