Belgian journalist Sven Claes spoke on The Football Terrace about how close Arsenal really are in completing a deal for Albert Sambi Lokonga this summer.
The Gunners have been heavily linked with a move for the Anderlecht midfielder and we’ve even tabled a bid for him. The Athletic revealed last week that Arsenal have offered £13 million for Lokonga, but the Belgian giants were holding out for about £17 million.
The report also claimed that there is a deal to be struck because of Anderlecht’s financial difficulties, and it looks like Les Mauves et Blancs are set soften their stance on the asking price.
Claes has revealed today that Arsenal’s opening bid was actually £12 million with another £2.57 million in potential add-ons. He claims that Anderlecht only want £860,000 more, and he believes that a deal can be completed – ‘maybe in a few days’.
Albert Sambi Lokonga could become an Arsenal player in a week
He said: “They did a first bid last week of €14 million (£12m) plus €3 million (£2.57m) bonuses, and Anderlecht are still considering that. I think the deal will happen, maybe in a few days, probably a week. Anderlecht has to decide.
“They want a bit more than the €14million (£12m) starting bid. The bonuses are okay, but I think they want €15 million (£12.8m).
“He will probably be an Arsenal player. The player, he really wants to play there, and he also had some contact already with Arsenal, with the coach, so I think it will happen.”
The Insider’s View:
Just one player is not enough for Arsenal this summer, but Lokonga is a really good start.
The 21-year-old has been brilliant for Anderlecht over the last two seasons. He has really impressed everyone who has watched him, and it is no surprise that Arsenal are really pushing to complete the deal this early in the window.
Lokonga is unlikely to become a regular starter at Arsenal straight away, but you never know. Mikel Arteta has shown that he isn’t afraid to play the youngsters if they are good enough.
If the Belgian impresses him in training, we could well see him start regularly alongside Thomas Partey in the middle of the park next season.