Arsenal have Ruben Neves transfer alternative 'considerably' cheaper than Wolves star


Arsenal are reportedly considering making a move for Belgian youngster Albert Sambi Lokonga after Granit Xhaka moved a step closer to the exit. The Gunners are in the market for a central midfielder this summer and Lokonga could provide a low-cost alternative to Wolves midfielder Ruben Neves.

Manager Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu are planning a major overhaul of the Arsenal squad following a poor 2020/21 season.

Arsenal finished eighth in the Premier League and failed to secure any European football for next season after losing to Villarreal in the Europa League semi-final.

There is acceptance that changes are needed to turn things around in north London and the club are expecting to be busy in the transfer window.

Arsenal will have to sell in order to raise funds and make space in the squad for new players and Xhaka is reportedly one of those in line to leave.

According to football.london, Xhaka has now agreed a five-year contract with Roma, with Arsenal earning around £17million (€20m) for his signature.

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Despite having his critics, Xhaka has made over 200 appearances for the Gunners since joining the club from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016 and will take some replacing in central midfield.

Arsenal already have Thomas Partey, Mohamed Elneny, Matteo Guendouzi, Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the books already, but are in the market for at least one other.

As The Athletic have reported, Wolves midfielder Neves is one of the players on their radar.

The report states that contact has been made between the two clubs and Wolves are open to a ‘sizeable sale’. It is understood they want £35m for his signature.

Neves has proven his quality in the Premier League over the past few seasons and on the international stage for Portugal, but it remains to be seen if Arsenal are willing to pay Wolves’ asking price.

That is where Lokonga comes into the picture. The Belgium under-21 international has been making good progress at Anderlecht and looks set for a move this summer.

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According to The Athletic, Arsenal’s analysts have tracked the 21-year-old’s progress for ‘some time’ and he is on the list of summer targets.

Lokonga made 37 appearances for Anderlecht last season, picking up three goals and two assists from the middle of the park.

Arsenal consider him as a ‘multi-functional’ player and ‘an effective ball-carrier’, making him slightly different to Neves, who would appear to be a more straightforward replacement for Xhaka, as a ball-winner and passer.

Lokonga was called up to Roberto Martinez’s Belgium squad in March and is on their standby list for Euro 2020.

He has reportedly attracted interest from AC Milan and others, but would still command a ‘considerably lower fee’ than Neves.



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