Arsenal to announce first summer signing after midfielder skips pre-season camp

Albert Sambi Lokonga Anderlecht TEAMtalk

Arsenal are close to signing Albert Sambi Lokonga with the Belgian reportedly missing from Anderlecht’s pre-season training camp.

A number of sources in Belgium report that 21-year-old midfielder Lokonga is on the verge of signing for Mikel Arteta’s men.

La Dernière Heure via Sport Witness claim Lokonga is “closer than ever” to signing for Arsenal.

The outlet suggest that the Brussels-born player is set to be left out of the six-day training camp in Alkmaar, which kicks off on Monday.

Het Belang van Limburg say the Jupiler Pro League side’s midfield will have a different look to it next season. Once a “few details” are sorted out Lokonga’s transfer to the Gunners will go ahead.

Het Nieuwsblad and Gazet van Antwerpen report a similar scenario.

They do though report that Lokonga has been included on the list for the camp. However, the player’s inclusion is “not a certainty” because his move to north London has been “completed except for a few details”.

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The player is also said to be desperate to travel to England “as soon as possible”.

He is already understood to have agreed personal terms, but will need to pass a medical and sign on the dotted line at The Emirates.

Walfoot also says that Anderlecht boss Vincent Kompany has resigned himself to losing the player and Lokonga has “not left with the group to Alkmaar”.

€15m-plus deal likely for Lokonga

Since making his professional debut in 2017, Lokonga has established his importance for Anderlecht. He made 33 starts in the Belgian top flight last season and provided three goals and two assists

His displays over the course of 2020-21 have attracted Arsenal, who have been linked for around a month. Their interest soon materialised into a £13m bid, but that was not enough for Anderlecht to accept.

However, Arsenal have now come back in with a new offer. According to Het Nieuwsblad, the price is rising above €15m.

Central midfield has been one of the priority positions for Artea. Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard have both returned to Real Madrid.

Granit Xhaka wants to leave for Roma and Matteo Guendouzi is heading to Marseille.

While, Arsenal could also sell Lucas Torreira, leaving themselves seriously short of bodies in midfield.