Arsenal close to announcing Lokonga transfer from Anderlecht

Date published: Monday 21st June 2021 2:50 - Jason Soutar


Arsenal are close to sealing the transfer of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht as he has signed off a contract with the club, according to reports.

The Gunners are prioritising stocking up the midfield this summer after a disappointing 2020/21 season, and Lokonga could be the first of many signings in the transfer market.

The 21-year-old could be a direct replacement for Granit Xhaka, who is apparently a transfer target for Roma.

England now need Jude Bellingham in central midfield

Lokonga made 27 league appearances for Anderlecht last season, scoring three goals.

Arsenal reportedly had a £12million bid rejected for the midfielder last week, with the Belgian club holding out for £17m.

Belgian publication HLN claimed that the bid had been rejected, but also stated that the transfer was ‘inevitable’.

He is capable of playing as a defensive midfielder or in a box-to-box role, with Mikel Arteta said to be particularly impressed by his passing range and ability to drive forward with the ball.

“I will not go to a club which is inferior to Anderlecht,” Lokonga told Belgian media last month.

“I will only leave Anderlecht if all the ingredients are there. Yes, I feel ready to take a step forward and rub shoulders with great players, but everything will depend on the proposals that will be made during this summer.”

An array of midfield changes are rumoured at the Emirates this summer, with an attacking midfielder remaining the priority for Arteta.

Leicester City star James Maddison has been linked with a move, alongside Martin Odegaard, who spent the 2020/21 season on loan in north London.

Maddison made 31 appearances for Leicester in the league last season scoring eight goals and registering five assists.

According to reliable journalist Chris Wheatley the Gunners have identified Maddison as a target, but the fee Leicester are likely to demand could be an issue.

Transfer rumours for Odegaard have died down over the last week or so, but Arsenal will definitely still have the Norwegian on their radar.

Real Madrid could try and ‘exploit’ Arsenal’s interest by asking for starlet Emile Smith Rowe in return for the 22-year-old.

If the Gunners were to sign Odegaard without including Smith Rowe, they are likely to have to pay up to £50m.

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