Premier League

Albert Lokonga: Arsenal close to signing £18 M Belgian Wonder Kid

Albert Lokonga to Arsenal: Arsenal are close to sign Anderlecht midfielder Albert Lokonga this summer. The 21-year-old Belgian is set to undergo his medical before completing his move to Emirates Stadium, after Arsenal agreed a deal in principle worth up to £18m. Arsenal have agreed with the initial fee with several add-ons to be included further in the deal.

According to The Athletic, preparations are being made for medical examinations in Belgium. As things stand, he is expected to undergo a period of isolation in the UK before being able to join in with training if a deal is done.

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Earlier this week, Belgian journalist Sven Claes reported that an official announcement was expected by the end of the week, although that might not come until the start of next week now given the pace this move continues to crawl at. That being said, Arsenal love a late Friday afternoon announcement.

Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts says: “Arsenal view Albert Lokonga as a player with immense potential and he fits the profile of the type of player the club are looking to recruit this summer.

“At just 21 and having only been playing in Belgium, he is not expected to come in and be an instant replacement for Roma-bound Granit Xhaka, but he will still get a lot of game time as he adjusts to the demands of the Premier League.

“With Matteo Guendouzi having joined Marseille, Dani Ceballos having returned to Madrid and Lucas Torreira expected to leave, Arsenal are well aware of the need to bolster their midfield ranks this summer.

“Albert Lokonga will do exactly that and will look to put pressure on Thomas Partey and whoever is brought in to replace Xhaka in the heart of midfield as the season progresses.”

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Who is Albert Lokonga

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Arsenal Target Albert Lokonga has been very open about his transfer talks

Anderlecht may let the 21-year-old leave the club this summer due to financial difficulties in the covid-19 pandemic. In the last two seasons, he has made 50 first-team appearances in the Jupiler League, having overcome two knee injuries to make himself a firm favourite of Anderlecht manager Vincent Kompany. Albert Lokonga has decided that he wants to play for Belgium.

However, his brother played for DR Congo. Paul-Jose M’Poku (Lokonga’s brother) has over 14 appearances for the African nation. M’Poku is a former Spurs youth player. M’Poku has played seven times for Belgium’s Under-21s and was called up for the senior squad for their friendly against Greece in June. However, he has yet to make his debut for Roberto Martinez’s side and missed out on the squad for Euro 2020.

Albert Lokonga is vocal about his future destination as he said last month: “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.”

Arsenal have also shown interest in Brighton’s centre back Ben White and had also made bids which were rejected by the Seagulls.

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