Arsenal are preparing an improved bid for Albert Sambi Lokonga after ‘agreeing terms’ with the 21-year-old Anderlecht star.
The Gunners’ first approach for the box-to-box midfielder, believed to be around £13m, was rejected by the Belgian giants last week, who are managed by former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.
Mikel Arteta is looking to bolster his options in the middle of the park after Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard’s loan spells from Real Madrid ended last month and the pair look unlikely to return.
Granit Xhaka is also set to depart North London with Jose Mourinho’s Roma currently attempting to tie up a deal to bring the Switzerland international to the Italian capital.
Brussels-born Lokonga is an exciting prospect in his homeland, playing 78% of available minutes for Anderlecht in the Juliper Pro League last term and the Emirates boardroom are keen to acquire his services this summer.
The dynamic midfielder, who usually plays in a defensive role before progressing the ball forward, made 27 league appearances over the course of the most recent campaign, scoring two goals and laying on three assists.
The report also states that Lokonga is keen on a move to England, having already agreed on personal terms with the Emirates chiefs.
Anderlecht are said to be well aware of the interest in their prodigy, feeling that they could bring in almost £20m for Lokonga.
Atalanta and Sevilla are noted as competition but London is claimed to be the 21-year-old’s preference over the pair of other potential suitors.
Arteta is planning a rebuild this summer if reports are to be believed, with Brighton & Hove Albion defender Ben White, 23, also recently subject to an initial offer of £40m that was turned down.
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Lokonga, who had to overcome a serious knee injury two years ago, told the Belgian media last month: “I will not go to a club which is inferior to Anderlecht.
“I will only leave Anderlecht if all the ingredients are there,” he explained.
“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.”
Arteta revealed to Sky Sports in April: “I love to work with young players and give them the opportunity but it’s not only that.
“It’s the collective aspect of the game. How we play together and how we enjoy playing our style.”
The Spaniard added: “For me, if we want to strengthen our position and we need to recruit somebody, first of all we have to look in our academy.
“It’s part of the DNA of the club and we have to do that.
“If we have that product in our club, let’s bring him in. But he has to have the right qualities, the right mentality and character to do so.
“If not, we have to go and try to find him.”
It looks like Arteta may well have found that man.