09/07/2021; 7:59 AM By : Steven D. Thompson
After making several moves in the postseason, Arsenal is close to signing its first transfer this summer; fresh reports claiming Albert Sambi Lokonga’s transfer has just come in. The Belgian midfielder will arrive from Anderlecht on a five-year contract that expires in 2026. The final agreement will go through at the Emirates Stadium.
At 21, Lokonga is an exciting prospect for the club, and Arsenal has been eyeing the player for a while. Although a medical hasn’t been conducted yet, the negotiations are now complete. Arsenal has reportedly agreed to pay £15 million for the player. He will be joining the squad right ahead of training season 2021/22.
The agreement includes a few performance add-ons, and the real challenge for Arsenal is to help the youngster unlock his full potential. Lokonga appeared 37 times for Anderlecht in the last season. He scored thrice with three assists under his belt. The talented midfielder played from the centre line 20 times and guarded the back four on the remaining 17 occasions.
The youngster has had several moments to shine under Vincent Kompany, and he hopes to play full-time in Arteta’s squad. Arsenal has been desperately searching for a commendable force in the midfield. With Dani Ceballos returning to Real Madrid and Granit Xhaka looking for a transfer, the Gunners are left wounded near the centre line.
Signing Lokongo could be Arsenal’s trump card. The youngster is a top talent in Europe and a potential Belgian superstar. Arsenal has a vibrant history of nurturing young talent, and Lokonga’s transfer fits right within the club’s comfort zone.
At 21, his best years are ahead of him, and the player has a significant resale value. But only time will tell if the Gunners have hit the jackpot. In his defence, Lokonga plays a mature passing game, has a strong tackle, and will be a valuable addition to the team.
On the other hand, Antoine Griezmann recently found himself on the receiving end of Barcelona’s financial woes. Spanish reports claim Barca are in no condition to sign Lionel Messi, who is out of contract, since its four summer signings, including Memphis Depay and Sergio Aguero, have burnt a deep hole in the club’s wallet.
While re-signing Messi, his massive salary demands will significantly rake up the club’s wage bills. By releasing Jean Claire-Todibo and Konrad De La Fuente, the club saved approximately £9 million in wages, but it still needs to free the salary cap if it wants to retain Messi.
Along with big names like Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, and Miralem Pjanic, Griezmann was recently put up for sale. This sudden disclosure ruffled up clubs like Manchester United and Chelsea, both of which are looking for a striker. However, even if Griezmann moves to the Premier League, he won’t be joining Arsenal.
The Gunners tried to onboard Griezmann back in 2013, but the deal fell through as the club pulled the plug at the last minute. The forward expressed his disappointment with the club’s decision in his autobiography 2017 and claimed he was disappointed with the club’s sudden mood swing. Griezmann also claimed that he would “knock them up” if the Gunners ever approached him again.
His statement read, “I waited and waited and kept waiting, but there was no news. Eric Olhats (Griezmann’s former agent) called Gilles Grimandi, who said that Arsene Wenger was still interested in me and asked me to keep waiting. Finally, a few hours before the window closed, he told us that Arsenal wouldn’t sign the contract. So, when Eric told me that the club was again interested in signing me, I asked him to forget about it after the last blow they gave us”.