Arsenal have reportedly set their sights on a summer swoop for highly-rated Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga, who plies his trade for RSC Anderlecht.
According to a report from Belgian publication Nieuwsblad, Premier League’s faltering giants Arsenal are interested in raiding RSC Anderlecht in the upcoming transfer window for the signing of midfield prodigy Albert Sambi Lokonga.
A product of the Anderlecht youth academy, Lokonga has spent his entire footballing career with the Belgian bigwigs and made his first-team debut for the club in 2017. Since then, the 21-year-old has gradually grown into a regular member of Vincent Kompany’s side, racking up 78 senior appearances in which he has three goals and seven assists. He even captained the team in the second half of the 2020/21 campaign.
A defensive midfielder by trade, Lokonga has represented the Belgian national team at the Under-17, Under-19 and Under-21 levels. While he is yet to make his senior debut for the Red Devils, the youngster is on the standby list for the upcoming UEFA Euro 2020, where the Belgian national team has been drawn in Group B alongside Denmark, Finland and Russia.
Lokonga’s progress with Anderlecht has seen him gather a number of admirers as per the report, with Arsenal’s interest in him being the strongest at the moment. The Gunners had shown some keenness in the 21-year-old midfielder back in 2019 as well but had to end their pursuit as he penned a new deal with the Belgian outfit.
However, the Gunners have seemingly rekindled their interest in Lokonga ahead of the next season, with manager Mikel Arteta lining up midfield reinforcements. Thomas Partey arrived amid much fanfare last summer but endured a disappointing debut campaign in England while Granit Xhaka blew hot and cold over the course of the season.
Mohamed Elneny, for all his positive attributes, is a squad player at best and with Dani Ceballos’ loan deal expiring, it becomes imperative that Arsenal add another midfielder to their ranks to maintain squad depth as they look to make their way back to the top. To that end, Brighton & Hove Albion’s Yves Bissouma had been mooted as a key target but the competition from Liverpool means they need to keep their options open.
That could explain the Gunners’ interest in Lokonga, who would be a younger and a potentially cheaper alternative to Bissouma for the Londoners. While he still has two years left on his current contract with Anderlecht, the club could be open to cashing in on him should a significant offer come along, with the report stating that the 21-year-old is valued around €15-€20 million.
It remains to be seen if Arsenal decide to act on their interest in the promising Belgian midfielder or decide to press ahead with their pursuit of Bissouma come the summer transfer window.