Arsenal could simultaneously benefit and suffer from Juventus deciding to cash in on one of their in-demand players, according to a report in Italy.
Juventus are bracing themselves for interest in Adrien Rabiot during the January transfer window. By that time, the midfielder will only have six months remaining on his contract. His form has improved this season, just in time for other clubs to take a look.
Rabiot was already linked with Manchester United in the summer, but the move never happened. Still, he could end up in the Premier League. Coincidentally, Arsenal have been listed among his admirers.
There have also been links with Chelsea, Liverpool, Newcastle and even Man Utd again. Whatever way, Calciomercato.it now predicts that Juventus will sacrifice Adrien Rabiot in January while they still have a chance of making money from him.
The asking price, according to the report, will be between €15million and €20million. Therefore, he could cost Arsenal between £12.9million and £17.2million.
They could yet have a trick up their sleeves, though, since Calciomercato claims Juventus are considering an existing Arsenal player as a potential replacement.
Per the Italian source, Albert Sambi Lokonga features on Juventus’ three-man shortlist to succeed Rabiot.
Lokonga only joined Arsenal last summer from Anderlecht, making 19 Premier League appearances in his debut season. He failed to score from those games or his five other outings in cup competitions.
Likewise, the Belgium international is goalless from his 13 appearances in all competitions this season. His fellow midfielders Granit Xhaka and Thomas Partey have been in better form.
Arsenal have been tipped to strengthen their midfield further by making a signing, such as Rabiot. Therefore, Lokonga might already be fighting for his future, despite having a contract until 2026.
Juventus might be willing to give him his first taste of Serie A action. They could also keep him in the Europa League, although unlike Arsenal, they will have to navigate a play-off match to reach the round of 16.
It remains to be seen how the inclusion of Lokonga in a deal might affect how much Arsenal would have to pay for Rabiot.
Juventus have two alternatives to Lokonga – but Arsenal might have Rabiot hope
They cannot necessarily rely on the strategy, since Juventus are also looking at two other Rabiot replacements. One could be Allan Saint-Maximin from Newcastle, even though it would seem he would be too attacking to be considered a like-for-like alternative.
The other option Juventus have taken a liking to is Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi, who has already been linked with Man Utd, Tottenham and Brighton in recent weeks.
Hence, the Serie A side will have to choose wisely when it comes to moving on from Rabiot. There would be some element of risk to a deal for Lokonga, who is yet to really justify his place at Arsenal.
Even Arsenal’s potential move for Rabiot might carry some risk. His overall spell with Juventus has been surrounded by inconsistency, although the present might be what matters – and that is looking good.
At 27 years old, Rabiot should be in his prime – or at least much closer to it than Lokonga. Therefore, if Arsenal get the chance to negotiate a part-exchange deal, they could end up with an upgrade.
It would be a shame to see Lokonga move on so soon after his arrival. He may feel like he needs more time to make an impact. But Arsenal are pursuing honours this season and will need ready-made players to stand the best chance of success.