Relations between Mikel Arteta and Vincent Kompany helped Arsenal to agree a deal in principle for Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga, according to Sky Sports.
The Gunners are close to finalising the terms of a transfer to bring Lokonga to the Emirates Stadium this summer. A £17m fee has been agreed for the Belgian, but the two clubs are still to settle on the precise structure of the payments.
Arsenal made Lokonga one of their top targets for Arteta and continue to edge closer to acquiring the Anderlecht captain. He has already agreed on personal terms with the north Londoners, per DH Net, and is set on the move.
What has helped Arsenal to get a deal for Lokonga over the line is the relationship Arteta shares with Anderlecht boss Kompany. The pair worked together at Manchester City between 2016 and 2019, while the Spaniard was an assistant coach to Pep Guardiola.
Kompany was still a player at the Etihad Stadium while Arteta worked in the dugout, but struck a good bond. They have since stayed in touch since departing Manchester for their own respective careers as head coaches, it seems.
And Lokonga may feature in a string of new arrivals once Arsenal finalise on the structure of payments with Anderlecht. The Gunners are preparing a third bid for Brighton defender Ben White, per Sky Sports. While the Evening Standard claim they want to give Benfica defender Nuno Tavares his debut in a friendly with Hibernian or Rangers next week.
Arsenal have medical planned for Anderlecht talent Lokonga
The structure of payments seems to be the only hurdle Arsenal have left before they sign Anderlecht talent Lokonga. Het Laatste Nieuws note the 21-year-old will travel to north London for his medical once the paperwork is done, which could be as early as this week.
Arsenal have been in talks for Lokonga for months, with Anderlecht demanding €18-€20m (£15.5m-17m). Paars-wit also want bonuses and a sell-on percentage on top of the base fee. But they hope to have the paperwork signed off imminently to acquire an ideal rising star.
Gunners scouts believe the box-to-box dynamo is the perfect talent to refresh and reinforce Arteta’s engine room. He will bring a dynamic and savvy presence to the Emirates, who is easy to coach. Arteta also wants to work with him, while their playing styles match well.