Arsenal poised for two deadline day departures as Crystal Palace and Fulham ramp up late interest
Crystal Palace are in talks to sign Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga on loan until the end of the season, according to reports.
The 23-year-old has started just two league games for the Gunners this season, with Mikel Arteta preferring the likes of Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka and Martin Odegaard in the middle of the park.
Arsenal may also offload another out-of-favour player, 31-year-old right-back Cedric Soares, who is reportedly being targeted by Fulham.
As mentioned, Lokonga has struggled for minutes this season after falling down Arteta’s pecking order, albeit understandably given the excellent form of his first-choice midfield trio.
The Belgium international’s latest appearance for the Premier League leaders came on Friday when he replaced Partey at half time against Manchester City, where he struggled to make an impact as Arsenal lost 1-0.
The midfielder has played just 195 minutes for the Gunners this season overall, so a loan switch to Selhurst Park would offer Lokonga more playing time as Patrick Vieira looks to bolster his squad ahead of the transfer deadline.
According to the Daily Mail, negotiations are progressing well between the two London clubs and there is optimism that an agreement can be reached.
Arsenal are also closing in on a stunning late move for Chelsea centre-mid Jorginho, so if that is to be successful as expected, Lokonga would be even less likely to be in Arteta’s plans this season.
Meanwhile, the Gunners are also looking to offload another player struggling for minutes in full-back Cedric, who has featured just twice in the Premier League this campaign.
As reported by the Athletic, Fulham are the main contenders to sign the defender on loan, with both clubs still in talks despite suggestions that negotiations had reached a standstill.
Marco Silva is keen to add another right-back to his squad to provide competition for Kenny Tete.
There are, however, big obstacles in the way, given Cedric is on a mega-salary of £75,000 a week, while Fulham already have two Premier League players on loan in Dan James and Shane Duffy.
The Portugal international is also attracting last-minute interest from another unnamed English club, as well as another from La Liga.
But, Marco Silva has already identified a potential alternative if their deal for Cedric is unsuccessful.
As per the Athletic, Fulham are also looking at bringing in FC Twente right-back Joshua Barnet, who has put in some excellent performances this season.
With all this in mind, it looks set to be a very busy deadline day for Arsenal as they look to offload and bring in several players ahead of 11pm.
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