Arsenal have submitted their first official bid for Albert Sambi Lokonga, according to multiple reports this morning.
Reliable Belgian outlet HLN reported on Tuesday morning that Arsenal had made their first bid for Albert Sambi Lokonga. The Gunners reportedly offered over €15m including bonuses, but Anderlecht refused the bid, asking for €20m.
This doesn’t sound like a huge gap, but Anderlecht want €20m guaranteed, and it’s not clear how much of Arsenal’s €15m+ offer was guaranteed. There’s also interest from Germany and France if Arsenal don’t up their bid.
HLN add that the player wants clarity over his future as soon as possible, and he’s indicated internally that he wants to make a step up this summer. Anderlecht accept a transfer is inevitable, and they’re willing to let him go – if they get the right offer.
The Athletic confirm that Arsenal have now submitted a bid for Lokonga, after making an initial enquiry a few weeks ago. They give similar details to HLN (bid around €15m, Anderlecht want €20m).
The Athletic add that there’s a deal to be done and Anderlecht are open to a sale to offset their recent financial difficulties. He fits the profile Arsenal are focusing on, younger players with the potential to improve.
The Daily Mail join the fray to further confirm the bid reports. They claim there’s ‘optimism’ a deal can be reached as negotiations progress.
Lokonga is on Belgium’s standby list for the Euros, after receiving his first senior international call-up in early June. The 21-year-old is also captain of his club side, making 37 appearances this season.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez is a fan, picking him out as one to watch over the next couple of years. The midfielder generally plays his football in a deeper position, and his strengths are his progressive passing and dribbling.
That could make him a good addition to the midfield, with Arsenal perhaps lacking that profile outside of Thomas Partey, assuming Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi leave as expected.
Arsenal have been tracking Lokonga for a couple of years now, and it looks like they’re finally ready to make their move.