Premier League • England

Arsenal greenlight star’s move to Prem rival, with deal ‘close’ and key detail confirmed

Arsenal stars William Saliba, Takehiro Tomiyasu and Albert Sambi Lokonga

Mikel Arteta has given his blessing for an underused Arsenal star to join a Premier League rival, and the type of deal in play has been confirmed.

The Gunners completed a club-record deal for Declan Rice on July 15. The ex-West Ham captain cost a package totalling £105m, though Rice isn’t the only new signing who’ll spend time in midfield.

Indeed, Arsenal also signed Kai Havertz who spent the bulk of his time at Chelsea playing in the forward line. However, the German has generally been deployed in a midfield role during pre-season with the Gunners.

With Thomas Partey also looking like he’ll stay despite interest from Juventus and Saudi Arabian sides, exits are clearly required.

Granit Xhaka led the way when leaving for Bayer Leverkusen. However, according to the Mirror, the rarely-seen Alberti Sambi Lokonga is next in line to depart.

The Belgian, 23,. has barely got a look-in since arriving from Anderlecht in 2021.

Lokonga cost £17.2m to sign, though as yet Arsenal are still waiting for a return on their investment.

Lokonga spent the latter half of last season loaned to Crystal Palace. Per the Mirror, another loan spell is primed to take shape, this time involving Burnley.

The newspaper reported Arsenal and newly-promoted Burnley are ‘stepping up talks’ over a season-long loan.

Whether there’ll be an option or obligation to buy included in the deal wasn’t specified. Though what is clear is a loan and not a permanent sale is on the agenda right now.

Arteta has reportedly ‘given his blessing’ to Lokonga to join another EPL side for the 2023/24 campaign. The arrival of Rice is noted as a key factor behind the decision.

Vincent Kompany’s Burnley are labelled ‘keen’ to wrap up an agreement with all haste. The new season is less than a fortnight away and Lokonga will shore up Burnley’s midfield ranks.

The report concluded talks will ‘advance’ this coming week and a deal is ‘close’.

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