Arsenal have seen their first bid rejected for a 21-year-old who is already captain of his club, though a deal still remains on the cards, per reports.
Arsenal are on the hunt for midfield reinforcements after several of their current stars have been tipped to leave. Granit Xhaka was thought to be close to linking up with Jose Mourinho at Roma. The Portuguese is a big admirer of Xhaka, though the latest report revealed a disconnect between the two clubs in negotiations.
News emerged last week of a rising Belgian talent who could fill the void for the next decade.
After Thierry Henry was reported to have offered a helping hand, Arsenal were said to be in ‘advanced’ talks with Anderlecht’s impressive 21-year-old, Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Despite his age, the all-action midfielder was handed the captain’s armband mid-way through the previous season.
They claim Arsenal’s opening gambit of £13m has been soundly rejected. Nevertheless, a deal between the two clubs still appears likely.
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That’s because Anderlecht are understood to be fully aware Lokonga is ready to try his hand at a higher level. As such, they are reportedly holding out for a fee closer to £17m.
Lokonga is described as keen to resolve his future immediately. He is on stand-by for the Belgian Euro 2020 squad and could see action if the injury bug bites.
Arsenal are expected to return with an improved offer in due course. And given just a £4m disparity was present with the first bid, we see no reason why the two clubs can’t come to an agreement.
Palace chasing rarely used Arsenal striker
Meanwhile, Crystal Palace have joined the list of clubs interested in signing wantaway Arsenal striker Eddie Nketiah, according to a reliable transfer source.
It was reported by The Athletic last week that Arsenal have offered him a new deal. He has 12 months to run on his current contract and is said to have rejected the terms.
That may well open the door for a summer switch and he will not be short of suitors. Renowned transfer guru Fabrizio Romano has taken to Twitter to reveal just who is stalking the youngster.
The Italian claims Bayer Leverkusen have been ‘pushing for months’ to secure his signature. West Ham and Watford are also said to hold an interest but Palace are the new kids on the block.