Arsenal need to up their bid to secure new top midfield target

Poor old Mikel Arteta and Edu must be running around in circles trying to secure Arsenal’s first signing of the summer window.

It would appear that the Gunners are desperately in need of midfielders after Ceballos and Martin Odegaard returned to their parent club Real Madrid, with reports saying that Carlo Ancelotti will not be allowing the young Norwegian to return to the Emirates next season.

This big gap in midfield could grow even bigger if the reports are true about Granit Xhaka wanting to join Jose Mourinho at Roma, but I honestly don’t think Arteta can afford to let him go until he has secured enough replacements in the middle of the pitch.

It looked like Buendia was the main target after Odegaard, but with Aston Villa gazumping Arsenal’s bid for the ex-Norwich man, the latest target appears to be the young Anderlect man Albert Sambi Lokonga and the Athletic is reporting that our opening bid of a paltry €15 million has been rejected by the Belgian side, as they are wanting more like €20 million for their exciting young prospect.

The 21-year-old’s current club are open to him leaving this summer, as the Belgian side posted a 60 million loss in the past two years. Thus, selling their prized asset can offset their recent losses to a considerable degree.

The midfielder is also open to a new adventure in the current shop window if the correct opportunity arises this summer.

“I will not go to a club which is inferior to Anderlecht,” Lokonga told the 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.”

The midfielder made an impressive 37 appearances for Vincent Kompany’s squad last season, scoring three goals and assisting a further three.

Despite his age, the Belgian international has already featured in 78 games for Anderlecht.

Lokonga is pretty versatile too. He can play as a number eight as well as a deep-lying midfielder.
The interest in him makes sense, due to Arsenal’s revised policy of signing young players with a high ceiling, that can be sold later at a good price.

Too many times in the past, the North London side have let go prized assets for free or a nominal fee. Thus, Edu and Richard Garlick will work to steady the ship according to their liking, rather than letting the club getting affected by the tides.

Personal viewpoint:
There is no doubt in the fact that Sambi Lokonga is an extremely talented footballer. The midfielder can pass (0.9 Key Passes last season), dribble (0.9 dribbles), tackle (1.5) and can also break the plays of the opposition (1.7 interceptions).

If there is a difference of just 5 million between Anderlecht’s valuation and Arsenal’s, I personally believe that the Gunners should stump the money on the table, if they are of the view that Lokonga has a great career in front of him.

Losing out on Lokonga after Emi Buendia would be really discouraging and frustrating for the Arsenal board as well as the supporters. They should tie this up quickly and move on to our next midfield target…

Yash Bisht

Tags Anderlecht Sambi Lokonga


  1. Agree with Yasht – everything looks right about this one. Hes quick, technical, tough and attack minded. He will improve. The price is relatively small. Mess about trying to save a couple of mil when its not a huge price anyway couls alienate Anderlecht and the player and allow other clubs to gazump us. Lets get this first one done.

    Its a thin line between getting a reputation as a hard bargaining club and a timewaster. Yes we were easy prey in the past, but lets not go too far the other way now and end up blowing every deal. Watching the Xhaka transfer – this could well happen there.

  2. If we sign lokonga I don’t think we will then pursue bissouma as they’re similar players (dm) but we still need a xhaka replacement for the deeplying playmaker role locotelli would be perfect but bigger teams will be in for him, so our chances are slim at best.

  3. In common with Vincent Kompany and Thierri Henry, I really rate this guy who glides effortlessly across the pitch ,has excellent ball control and is a very good passer of the ball.Arsenal should up their offer to 15m to get the deal done.

  4. This guy seem to be a good prospect who can turn out big due to his stats.
    But then, getting him signed up is another head-ache when it’s Arsenal.

  5. I hope Arsenal don’t f**k this up, £15 mil is too cheap for us miss the opportunity. Well, it is Arsenal where nothing is done until it’s unveiled. I’m not getting my hopes high, not at all

  6. Now other clubs are most likely coming in for him. He’s pure talent. Lokongaa understanding of the game seems to be extremely good. I’am afraid it will be a dejvu like Buendia.
    Arsenal are most like trying to get every player on the cheap. It could cost us once again, I am afraid. One of our legends is highly recommend Lokonga to Arsenal. There must be a reason. Watch some videos of him, I think everybody understand why.

    1. Will we buy the RIGHT players? Pat you may have to eat YOUR words. I hope I do have to eat my words….if we get good players I would be happy….but I like a nice ‘Word Salad’, and there’s plenty here. Trouble is for every Alexis Sanchez we buy there’s a Cedric and a Willian.

  7. Lokonga plays in the Dutch league.
    We have seen Bissouma play in the Premier League.
    I suggest, therefore, that Lokonga is more of an unknown quantity.

    I can only think that Arsenal are pursuing Lokonga because he is the cheaper option.

    I believe Arsenal are going cheap because they are trying to buy too many new players in this window.
    It looks like we are in the quantity over quality mindset.

    I have no problem with pursuing Ben White, but at the moment do we need another Center Back, or do we need another top defensive midfielder to complement Partey. This would really help our defense.
    Do we need another Center Back or do we need a goal scorer, like Insigne from Napoli?
    In fact trying to buy an Insigne should be our number one goal this window!!!!

    I have said this before, but I get really angry when Arteta plays Auba on the left wing and exiles ESR to the right wing. Playing short sharp passes with Pepe, and expecting a return, is like playing Russian roulette.

    ESR works much better with Tierney. If you play ESR on the right, you are wasting his talent!!

    1. Lokonga actually plays in the Belgium League ,but I take your point in highlighting the proven quality of Bissouma in the EPL.I also share your views on the ESR /Tierney !ink up.I believe Arsenal are interested in Bissouma and Lokonga who can adapt to any midfield position.The problem is selling on Xhaka, Guendouzi and Torreria to fund their acquisition.Elneny will probably be retained as as back up.

  8. Here we go again, if Edu and co have identified Lokonga as the player they want us to sign, and I think he would be a very good signing, then surely mucking around offering a low bid for the sake of 5 million is a sure way of losing out. Offer them what they want, 20 million is hardly breaking the bank, and get it done before another club comes in and we all stand around saying how did that happen….

  9. Does going after Lokonga mean we aren’t trying to sign Bissouma? Both and i will be happy, if Lokonga is the booby prize then Arsenal are signing the wrong player.

    1. I get that feeling too. From arteta and edu point of view bissouma’s valuation at £40m and the African nations cup factor has probably made them against signing him,but we definitely need another cm with xhaka and Co departures a locotelli/neves type deeplying playmaker.

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