Arsenal sign Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht
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Arsenal chief Edu will turn his attention to Mikel Arteta’s top five priorities after Albert Sambi Lokonga became the Premier League club’s second signing of the transfer window. The 21-year-old midfielder has completed his move from Anderlecht, joining left-back Nuno Tavares who arrived at the Emirates from Benfica earlier this month.
While Lokonga and Tavares are both exciting young players, neither are expected to be regular first choices next season, with Thomas Partey and Kieran Tierney ahead of them in the pecking order for their respective positions.
And technical director Edu is busy behind the scenes trying to bring in a number of players who would directly impact Arteta’s first-team selections for the coming campaign.
The first of those is expected to be centre-half Ben White, who is set to complete his £50m move from Brighton once he returns from his holiday following England’s run to the Euro 2020 final.
And once White is through the door, Arsenal’s priority will be to sign a creative midfielder, according to Football London.
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The Gunners are expected to resist all attempts by Aston Villa to sign Emile Smith Rowe, having already turned down two bids for the young playmaker from Dean Smith’s side.
But Arsenal will look to bring in another attacking option, with Edu keen to avoid a situation similar to last season where Arteta’s side are hamstrung creatively if the injury-prone 20-year-old is sidelined.
The club are believed to be keen on Leicester’s James Maddison, although they could be priced out of a move, while Houssem Aouar is also on their radar with Lyon thought to have dropped their asking price.
And Arsenal have not given up hope of bringing Martin Odegaard back to the Emirates despite the 22-year-old having returned to Real Madrid following his loan spell.
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Arteta is also expected to target an experienced central midfielder to play alongside Partey, with Granit Xhaka expected to join Roma, while Dani Ceballos has gone back to Madrid, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Joe Willock have been linked with moves away.
Manuel Locatelli has been strongly linked in recent weeks, although the Italian midfielder reportedly prefers a move to Juventus, while the likes of Brighton’s Yves Bissouma and Ruben Neves of Wolves are also believed to be targets.
If those three positions can be filled, Arsenal’s next priority will be to add another right-back.
Hector Bellerin has been tipped to leave the Emirates this summer, with Inter Milan keen on the 26-year-old while Atletico Madrid are also potential suitors.
RB Leipzig’s Tyler Adams and Max Aarons of Norwich City are among those who have been linked with Arsenal as potential replacements for Bellerin.
But Arteta can call on Calum Chambers and Cedric, while White can play at right-back if needs be, meaning Arsenal may stick with what they already have if a good deal isn’t available.
The Gunners also need to sign a goalkeeper to play back up to Bernd Leno for the coming season.
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Arthur Okonkwo recently signed a contract extension to seal his promotion to the first team as third-choice goalkeeper, but someone will be needed to provide more stern competition to the German, with Runar Alex Runarsson set to leave after a dismal first season.
The Gunners would ideally like a homegrown keeper, with Aaron Ramsdale of Sheffield United and West Brom’s Sam Johnstone potential targets.
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