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Brighton turn to Arsenal midfielder as deal stalls

Brighton turn to Arsenal midfielder as deal stalls

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Brighton’s search for a new midfielder has shifted focus to Arsenal’s Albert Sambi Lokonga following a stumbling block in the deal for Lille’s Carlos Baleba.

This move comes after Brighton’s need to replace the £115m sales of key players, including Moises Caicedo.

Albert Sambi Lokonga trains with Arsenal (Photo via Lokonga on Instagram)
Albert Sambi Lokonga trains with Arsenal (Photo via Lokonga on Instagram)
  • Brighton shifts focus to Arsenal’s Lokonga after £26m deal for Lille’s Baleba stalls.
  • The Seagulls have been active in the transfer window, bolstering their squad ahead of their first appearance in Europe.
  • Arsenal may see the potential transfer of Lokonga as an opportunity to align with Arteta’s plans, offering the young midfielder a chance to play more often.

Brighton’s search for a midfielder

After enjoying a near-perfect start to the new Premier League campaign, Roberto De Zerbi’s Brighton side appeared set to secure Lille’s 19-year-old Carlos Baleba for £25.6m.

However, negotiations have seemingly stalled, leading Brighton to reconsider their options.

The Seagulls now seem to be targeting Arsenal’s Albert Sambi Lokonga, as they look to reinvest the substantial funds received from recent high-profile sales, including Moises Caicedo.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Albert Sambi Lokonga of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park on February 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 25: Albert Sambi Lokonga of Crystal Palace during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Liverpool FC at Selhurst Park on February 25, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old Belgian midfielder, who joined Arsenal in 2021 for £15m, spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, making just nine league appearances.

Lokonga is reportedly not in the plans of Gunners boss Mikel Arteta, making a move to the Amex a possibility.

According to talkSPORT, Brighton’s interest in Lokonga is genuine, and the club may seek to bring the player initially on loan.

Brighton’s busy transfer window

The Seagulls have been active in strengthening their squad ahead of their first-ever appearance in Europe this season.

Signings have included Joao Pedro for a club-record fee, goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen from Anderlecht, and centre-back Igor Julio from Fiorentina.

WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 19: James Milner of Brighton and Hove Albion reacts during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton & Hove Albion at Molineux on August 19, 2023 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 19: James Milner of Brighton and Hove Albion reacts during the Premier League match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Brighton & Hove Albion at Molineux on August 19, 2023 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images)

Additionally, James Milner and Mo Dahoud arrived on the south coast on free transfers.

This transfer activity comes on the back of an impressive start to the Premier League season, with Brighton following up an opening day win against Luton with a 4-1 victory at Wolves on Saturday.

Arsenal’s perspective on Lokonga

For Arsenal, the potential departure of Lokonga may align with Arteta’s plans for the squad.

As the player has not featured under the manager since his first season, a loan or permanent move could offer Lokonga the opportunity for more regular first-team football.

Though seen as a promising talent, Lokonga’s future at Arsenal remains uncertain. A move to a club where he may play more often could be beneficial for all parties involved.

Brighton’s sudden shift in focus from Carlos Baleba to Albert Sambi Lokonga highlights the unpredictable nature of the transfer market. While deals can appear to be near completion, unforeseen obstacles can lead to abrupt changes in direction.

Albert Sambi Lokonga writes a message to Patrick Vieira on Instagram
Albert Sambi Lokonga writes a message to Patrick Vieira on Instagram

Brighton’s interest in Lokonga underscores their intent to continue bolstering their midfield options, while Arsenal may see this as an opportunity to offer Lokonga the chance to develop further. With the transfer window in full swing, both clubs will be keen to finalise their squads as they look to build on promising starts to their respective campaigns.

Brighton will be back in action on Saturday when they host West Ham at the Amex, with fans eager to see how the team continues to perform and whether any new faces will be added to De Zerbi’s exciting project on the south coast.

Meanwhile, Arsenal supporters will be watching closely to see how the situation with Lokonga unfolds, as the young midfielder’s future hangs in the balance.

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