Arsenal target to leave Anderlecht next summer, not January

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Cheikhou Kouyate has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with the defender set to leave Belgium at the end of the season.

Anderlecht defender Cheikhou Kouyate has impressed with Belgian side Anderlecht over the last 12 months, and has been widely speculated in the press as a transfer target for a host of Premier League clubs.

The Senegal-born centre-half has been an ever-present in the Anderlecht side this season and featured in the 3-2 Champions League defeat to Benfica on Wednesday night.

Arsenal have been accredited with an interest in the 23-year-old, but the likes of Newcastle, Southampton and Cardiff have also been linked with a move for the versatile defender.

Anderlecht managing director Herman van Holsbeeck has admitted that the club will struggle to hold onto their star man, but will be reluctant to allow him to leave in the January transfer window.

"The chances he stays at Anderlecht during the winter break are 75 per cent,” he told Belgian weekly Sport/Foot Magazine.

"We have promised him a transfer at the end of the season, like we did with Dieumerci Mbokani and Lucas Biglia.

"I'm reading everywhere he'll be leaving in January, but I'm not sure about that. Finding a replacement during the season is difficult.

"Only when a spectacular offer comes in, we will allow him to leave."

The five-times capped Senegal international has been on Anderlecht’s books since 2008, and he has made over 100 appearances for the Belgian giants.

Renowned for his pace, strength and work-rate, the central defender has also been used in front of his back four on occasions, and clearly has the versatility to fit into a number of positions.

The towering enforcer gained a Belgian passport last year, which means that he will have no work permit issues for English clubs.

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