Arsenal fail with opening bid for Anderlecht's Albert Sambi Lokonga

Tom Gott
Arsenal want Albert Sambi Lokonga
Arsenal want Albert Sambi Lokonga / BSR Agency/Getty Images

Anderlecht have knocked back Arsenal's first bid for 21-year-old midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.

The Gunners are on the hunt for at least one new midfielder this summer as manager Mikel Arteta plans a shake-up in his squad, and Sambi Lokonga is one of several names on his wish list.

According to Het Laatste Nieuws, the feeling is mutual and Sambi Lokonga wants to head to Arsenal. Anderlecht are understood to be willing to sell, but only for the right price, and they were not impressed with Arsenal's first offer of around £13m.

That proposal included bonuses, add-ons and instalments, and Anderlecht wasted little time in knocking it back. They are looking for a bid which will give them a guaranteed fee of at least £17m and don't want to spend time discussing extras and add-ons.

The Belgian side are also aware of interest in Sambi Lokonga from elsewhere. Sides from both Germany and France have reached out over a deal for the 21-year-old, and there is a hope that Arsenal's first bid will spark a bidding war.

Albert Sambi Lokonga
Sambi Lokonga wants to join Arsenal / BSR Agency/Getty Images

Whether Arsenal will increase their offer remains to be seen. They had been hoping to reinvest money earned by selling Granit Xhaka to Roma for around that £17m mark, but talks with the Italian side have hit a stalemate.

It's thought that Roma are hesitant to commit that sort of fee to the 28-year-old, but Arsenal are reluctant to lower their asking price considering he still has two years remaining on his contract and the cost of replacing him could be fairly high.

Other targets, including Brighton's Yves Bissouma and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Ruben Neves, are both expected to command fees of around £30m.

Granit Xhaka
Xhaka's move to Roma has stalled / Pool/Getty Images

Arsenal appear to have tried to move for the cheaper, riskier option of Sambi Lokonga, who impressed with three goals and two assists in 27 appearances for Anderlecht last year, but they're going to have to do better than their opening offer.

Anderlecht are prepared to sell and have made their terms clear. At £17m, he would still be cheaper than the Gunners' other targets, but it's just a question of whether Arsenal are willing to increase their bid and take a risk on Sambi Lokonga.

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