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One in, one out? As Arsenal close on Lokonga, Aston Villa prepare improved Smith Rowe bid

BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Emile Smith Rowe of Arsenal during the Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion and Arsenal at American Express Community Stadium on December 29, 2020 in Brighton, England.The match will be played without fans, behind closed doors as a Covid-19 precaution. (Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images)

A pair of updates surrounding potential ins-and-outs at Premier League giants Arsenal have come to the fore on Monday evening.

Anderlecht starlet incoming?

The first centers on a possible addition to Mikel Arteta’s ranks in the middle of the park.

Recent weeks have of course seen a whole host of midfield talents tipped to arrive at the Emirates, chiefly of an attacking nature. The likes of Nabil Fekir, Emi Buendia and even James Maddison were named, at some point or another, as targets on the part of the Gunners.

The midfielder who now looks closest to actually sealing a move to North London, though, generally lines out in a deeper role.

The player in question? Albert Sambi Lokonga.

Belgian talent Lokonga is thought to sit high on the list of Mikel Arteta’s targets, with the Spaniard desperate to secure the signature of a long-term partner for Thomas Partey.

And, if the latest word spreading across the media on Monday is anything to go by, it appears that the Arsenal boss will soon see his wish granted. As per a report from the reliable Chris Wheatley, the Gunners are ‘closing’ on Lokonga’s addition, with personal terms between the parties now agreed:

ESR targeted

As one midfielder inches towards the Emirates, though, another is linked with a potential exit.

Emile Smith Rowe of course enjoyed a breakout campaign in the English capital in 2020/21, after finally being handed the chance to impress on a consistent basis late last year.

The Englishman is widely viewed as the long-term answer to Arsenal’s woes at no.10, with Smith Rowe’s impressive attitude having already seen him take on cult hero status amongst the club’s fanbase.

It has therefore come as something of a surprise to see one of the Gunners’ Premier League rivals push for the Englishman’s signature since the opening of the summer transfer window.

The side in question, Aston Villa, are widely reported to have seen a £25 million offer knocked back by those in a position of power at the Emirates.

According to Football Insider, though, the Villans are ready to test Arsenal’s resolve once more, courtesy of an improved bid over the days ahead. The proposal, this time around, is expected to be worth £30 million.

The Gunners’ response, though, will likely prove the same.


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This article was edited by Ben Browning.

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