Arsenal target Maddison and step up White and Lokonga talks as summer overhaul gathers pace

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Arsenal’s summer transfer business is beginning to pick up pace, with the club pushing hard to wrap up their first signings of the window.

Despite all the talk of a major summer overhaul during the final weeks of last season, it has been slow going so far in north London, with no major arrivals or departures since the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

But things are now beginning to move, with sources at the Emirates Stadium confident that their summer plans are starting to take shape.

Bids have gone in for Brighton defender Ben White and Anderlecht midfielder Albert Lokonga, who are both priority targets, and although they were rejected, improved offers are expected as talks over both intensify.

So what is the state of play at Arsenal as things stand? Goal take a look...

Rejected bids

Arsenal have seen two bids rejected in the past week, having submitted offers for both White and Lokonga.

White is currently away with England at Euro 2020, but he is aware of Arsenal’s interest and is understood to be keen on a move to north London.

Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, has held talks with the defender’s representative at London Colney and has made it clear how keen the club are on bringing him to Emirates Stadium.

Brighton rejected Arsenal’s first offer, which is believed to have been around £40 million  ($56m) , but talks between the clubs are continuing and Arsenal have not been put off by having their initial bid knocked back.

Ben White

They believe they have a good chance of landing the 23-year-old centre-back, and are expected to return with an improved bid as they look to get a deal done quickly.

A second offer is also expected for Lokonga, the 21-year midfielder at Anderlecht.

Arsenal have had a first bid of around £13m ($18m) rejected by the Belgian giants, who are holding out for around £17.5m ($24m).

But dialogue between the clubs is continuing, and the Gunners are hopeful of reaching a compromise for a player who they view as an exciting prospect for the future.

The midfield situation

Should Arsenal agree a deal for Lokonga, the Belgium Under-21 international Is not expected to be the only midfielder who will arrive at the Emirates this summer.

There is an acceptance at Arsenal that more is needed, especially with Granit Xhaka expected to join Roma .

The Switzerland international wants to move to Italy, but a deal has yet to be agreed between Arsenal and the Stadio Olimpico outfit.

Talks are expected to reach a successful conclusion, but Roma are yet to make an offer that meets the Gunners' valuation.

Matteo Guendouzi is also on his way out, with Marseille having held talks with Arsenal about the midfielder, who has a year left on his contract.

Matteo Guendouzi

Arsenal do have an option of extending Guendouzi’s deal by another year, however, which gives them a position of added strength when it comes to demanding a higher transfer fee from Marseille or any other interested parties, with clubs in Germany also looking at the 22-year-old.

With Lucas Torreira’s future also far from clear and Newcastle one of several clubs eying Joe Willock following his successful loan spell at St James’ Park, Arsenal are aware that they need more than just the relatively inexperienced Lokonga.

Informal talks have been held with Wolves over Ruben Neves,  but that is a potential deal that has not yet progressed since initial contact over the Portugal international, who Wolves value at £35m ($49m).

Brighton's Yves Bissouma is another player who has been discussed, but there has yet to be a suggestion that the interest will be firmed up, while Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli - who scored twice for Italy as they beat Turkey at Euro 2020 on Wednesday night - has also been linked.

What else is happening?

Arsenal are stepping up their search for a playmaker to help share the burden with Emile Smith Rowe, who the club hope will soon sign a new contract after knocking back a £25m ($35m) offer from Aston Villa .

Bringing Martin Odegaard back from Real Madrid following his loan spell has always been the priority, but while that plan has not yet been totally scrapped, talks with Madrid during the past couple of weeks have left Arsenal feeling that they will have to look elsewhere.

There is an interest in James Maddison at Leicester City, who has now moved towards the top of the Gunners' list of targets, although his price tag - believed to be in excess of £60m ($84m) - is likely to prove problematic.

James Maddison

Two new goalkeepers are also on the agenda, with doubts over Bernd Leno’s future increasing.

Ajax’s Andre Onana has been a long term target and is available for a price under £10m ($14m) , but he is not able to play until November due to his doping ban, and interest is now increasing in Aaron Ramsdale at Sheffield United, who the Blades value at around £20m ($28m).

Mat Ryan, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Arsenal from Brighton, is still very popular in north London and the Gunners would be keen on bringing him back on a permanent basis to strengthen the goalkeeping department.

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But there are several clubs interested in Ryan who are offering the Australia international first-team football, and Arsenal believe their chances of signing the 29-year-old are decreasing as the summer progresses.

Meanwhile, the club are now openly inviting offers for striker Eddie Nketiah, who has one year left on his contract, and are close to agreeing a deal with Stuttgart for Konstantinos Mavropanos .

Arsenal are also in the market for a right and left back, with Hector Bellerin and Sead Kolasinac free to leave this summer, although there is an acceptance that not everything can be achieved in just one transfer window.