A summer of change and transformation lies ahead for Arsenal and manager Mikel Arteta.
After finishing eighth in the Premier League table this season and missing out on European football for next term for the first time in 25 years, Arsenal are in drastic need of changes taking place, both in terms of new arrivals to strengthen the first-team squad and those out-of-favour in need of being offload.
As reported by football.london last month, the Gunners have aspirations to bring in five new faces this summer, but that all depends on the players that they can offload, with football.london also understanding that Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and Eddie Nketiah are set to be made available for permanent exits.
Should those four, as well as Spanish right-back Hector Bellerin, be successfully offloaded, it could hand Arteta a significant boost to his transfer kitty in his plans to add fresh faces to his squad as part of his summer overhaul.
One man who is high up on the Gunners boss’ wish list is Brighton & Hove Albion midfield ace Yves Bissouma. The Seagulls’ midfielder, who has been nothing short of outstanding for Graham Potter’s side this term, is valued at around £40million and would be open to making the switch to the Emirates Stadium this summer if the opportunity presented itself.
But with Arsenal in need of bolstering their squad a lot more than just with Bissouma this summer, they may have to box clever with their recruitment and spread the amount of money they are prepared to spend on various positions, not just throwing a big sum at one player, in this scenario Bissouma.
However, Arsenal could now be poised to source an ideal alternative to Bissouma for a much lesser fee in the shape of Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga. That is because, according to a report by Voetbal 24 in Belgium, former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry has ‘put in a good word’ for Lokonga to Arsenal’s bosses.
The Anderlecht midfielder, who is 21-years-old, is considered as one of the most highly-rated youngsters in European football and Henry is reportedly confident that he could do an ideal job for the Gunners.
Henry has recently been critical of the state of Arteta’s squad, urging the club to make changes this summer.
“I don’t like to compare eras, people do and I understand that, it’s a different generation, a different time, different technology, they have different views of the game, different preparations and different ways,” Henry told beIN Sports.
“The team hasn’t been successful recently, obviously winning cups along the way, but nowhere near the level of trying to compete for the title.
“But you can say the same for a lot of teams. You see Liverpool wait 30 years to win the title, it takes time, even for great teams.
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“So hopefully Arsenal can come back and compete, because at the end of the day there’s only going to be one winner, but at least try and compete.”
It is believed that the youngster would be available for somewhere in the region of £17million this summer, meaning he would be a much cheaper alternative to Bissouma.
Lokonga, despite his tender age, featured 37 times for Anderlecht this season, scoring three goals. He also donned the captain’s armband on occasions.