Sunday, October 1, 2023

Juventus and Arsenal with a swap deal, Lokonga part of the deal

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Juventus are reportedly working on a swap deal with Arsenal that would see Weston McKennie and Albert Sambi Lokonga move in opposite directions.

Belgium international Lokonga has struggled to break up the established midfield pairing of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka this term, making just two starts in the Premier League.
The 22-year-old has made the first XI for all four of Arsenal’s Europa League wins so far this term, but he is without a goal or assist in 10 outings for the Gunners.
Lokonga only joined Mikel Arteta’s side from Anderlecht last summer and has a contract with Arsenal until 2026, but there has been talk of a possible exit for the midfielder.
A move to Italy has been strongly mooted, and according to Calciomercato, Juventus chiefs have drawn up a plan to acquire his services.
The report claims that the Old Lady would be willing to part ways with McKennie in order to land Lokonga, as the American does not have a long-term future in Turin.
Former Schalke man McKennie has made seven starts for Juve in Serie A this term, but he is not expected to hold his place in the first XI when Paul Pogba is back fit.
As a result, Massimiliano Allegri is prepared to cut his losses on the 24-year-old, who is due to become a free agent in the summer of 2025.
However, Arsenal are not expected to be receptive to Juventus‘ advances, as Gunners chiefs still believe that Lokonga can blossom into an important player for the club in future years.
The ex-Anderlecht man has admitted that he “almost snapped” in the summer over his lack of playing time, but he has hinted that he could look to leave in 2023 if his
“Honestly, it’s difficult. I’m at one of the best clubs in England. I could have played somewhere else every weekend, but that wouldn’t have been the right solution for me,” Lokonga told La Dernier Heure.
“It’s a personal decision [to stay at Arsenal]. I wanted to give myself another year to stay at Arsenal and then see what happens.
“At the end of last season, I almost snapped. I called my agent to ask him if staying at Arsenal was a good idea. He comforted me in my choice, even though I know I need to start more often to develop.”
Lokonga played 67 minutes of Arsenal’s 1-0 Europa League win over PSV Eindhoven on Thursday, and he is still waiting for his first goal or assist for the Premier League leaders after 34 games.
Meanwhile, McKennie has come up with 11 goals and four assists in 88 games for Juve since the Bianconeri initially signed him on loan from Schalke in 2020, with the move being made permanent last year.

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