Even with the EURO 2020 tournament ongoing, transfer rumours have continued to rack up, and one of the most substantial ones in recent times has been the one linking Arsenal to the 21-year-old Anderlecht midfielder, Albert Sambi Lokonga. This is considered serious enough that online casinos are carrying betting odds for this transfer being completed, and there are reports that the Gunners have now submitted a €15 million opening offer to the Belgian club, who want a guaranteed fee of €20 million. He has impressed heavily in the Jupiter Pro League, making 50 first-team appearances in the past two seasons.
Midfield is one area where the Gunners will be looking to bolster this summer. Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi are expected to leave, while Granit Xhaka is being targeted by Jose Mourinho’s Roma, with this deal in particular considered a likely one by online pokies. Arsenal are exploring other options. Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Yves Bissouma has been linked frequently, while GDS claims that they could make a bid for Manuel Locatelli. However, Lokonga is one of his country’s top talents and Arsenal should not let him slip through their fingers.
This deal would be in line with Arsenal’s new transfer policy of finding highly-rated young players who can come in and contribute immediately to the first-team, but also have potential to improve and therefore have significant resale value as well. Another player in this mould being reportedly targeted by the Gunners is Brighton centre-back Ben White, who is part of the England squad at EURO 2020 following Trent Alexander-Arnold’s injury. At 23 years of age, he is still quite young, while he is versatile enough to play in central defence as well as at right-back and in defensive midfield as well – all roles which he has played in for Brighton under Graham Potter in the 2020/21 season. White would be another player who would definitely improve Arsenal’s first team while also being young and talented enough to command a significant transfer fee should he need to be sold, but getting him may not be easy. Brighton are likely to ask for a fee of around €35-45 million, and while this would not be out of reach for Arsenal, it would represent a significant outlay on one player at a time when there are multiple areas in the squad that need upgrades.
Arsenal need significant work in this summer transfer window if they are to challenge for a UEFA Champions League spot next season, and so it will be extremely interesting to see if they can manage to get the required business done to strengthen the side. Lokonga and White are interesting and exciting targets who will definitely provide an injection of talent, but they are certainly not the sort of players who can be expected to improve things all on their own – at 21 and 23 years respectively, these are still quite young players at the start of their top-level careers, and so Mikel Arteta will need to handle them with care and in the right manner to ensure that there is not too much pressure on them – of course, this is all only relevant if the Arsenal hierarchy manages to land either or both of these players in the first place.