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Arsenal considering Locatelli, Lokonga swap deal with Juventus?

Arsenal considering Locatelli, Lokonga swap deal with Juventus?

Arsenal are reportedly considering a swap deal involving Albert Sambi Lokonga and Manuel Locatelli with Juventus.

Twenty-two-year old Lokonga has only been on the fringes of the Arsenal first team since joining from Anderlecht for a £15.8m fee in the summer of 2021.

Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka are Mikel Arteta‘s untouchable midfield duo when fully fit, while Mohamed Elneny was also above Lokonga in the pecking order last year.

Lokonga did make 24 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions during his debut season, but he only started 12 Premier League games and failed to register a goal or assist.

Elneny’s serious hamstring injury has opened the door for Lokonga to feature more regularly this season, although he has featured from the first whistle in just three games in all competitions so far.

Manuel Locatelli in action for Juventus in August 2022© Reuters

The Belgium international was linked with a loan move away from Arsenal in the summer transfer window amid links with AC Milan, while Vincent Kompany – Lokonga’s former Anderlecht manager – was thought to have been keen to bring him to Burnley.

Lokonga ultimately remained at Arsenal, but according to Calciomercato, the Premier League leaders could be willing to part ways with the 22-year-old in exchange for Locatelli.

Back in 2021, the Gunners were believed to have been one of the sides interested in a deal for the Italy international, who is technically still on loan at Massimiliano Allegri‘s side from Sassuolo.

Juventus do possess an obligation to make Locatelli’s move permanent for a €35m (£30.5m) fee next year, but Allegri has reportedly decided that the 24-year-old is not in his long-term plans.

As a result, Arsenal could reignite their interest in Locatelli, who has started six Serie A games this term, and the midfielder may be tempted at the prospect of a move to the Premier League.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta celebrates on October 1, 2022© Reuters

The Sassuolo loanee has amassed three goals and five assists in 50 outings for the Old Lady in all tournaments since 2021, and he was also a part of Italy’s Euro 2020-winning squad.

Following a summer transfer saga, Lokonga’s brother Paul-Jose Mpoku insisted that an exit from Arsenal was “out of the question” as the Belgian expected to earn more opportunities to impress in European football.

“It’s out of the question, at least for him. He is very well integrated into the club & the city, he is happy, although he hopes to play more next season & his potential would deserve that,” Mpoku told RTBF.

“There will be European games. I talked to him on the phone on Monday; he was disappointed because, with the defeat in Newcastle, the Champions League has moved away, but there will be the Europa League & he is positive about his season.”

Lokonga will be expected to make the starting lineup when Arsenal welcome Bodo/Glimt to the Emirates Stadium for Thursday’s Europa League Group A clash, 24 hours after Locatelli and Juventus tackle Maccabi Haifa in Champions League Group H.

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