Arsenal agree to sign Benfica’s Tavares and close on Anderlecht’s Lokonga

Arsenal have secured a deal to sign the left-back Nuno Tavares from Benfica for an initial €8m (£6.9m) and are close to buying the Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.

The club will finalise the purchase of Lokonga for an initial €17.5m provided agreement is reached over what percentage of any future sale would be due to Anderlecht. Lokonga and Tavares are 21 and have played for the Belgium and Portugal Under-21s respectively.

Tavares, who can also play at right-back, is the less experienced of the two. He has made 30 Benfica appearances, including against Arsenal in the Europa League in February, when he came on for the closing minutes of the last-32 second leg. His first-team debut came in September 2019.

The paperwork on his deal is due to be signed on Wednesday. Arsenal’s discussions with Benfica included a possible swap involving Matteo Guendouzi but the midfielder prefers to join Marseille. Guendouzi spent last season on loan at Hertha Berlin.

Lokonga has came through the ranks at Anderlecht and was called into Belgium’s senior squad in March. He made his first-team breakthrough in late 2017 and has played more than 70 times for Anderlecht.

Arsenal have made an offer for the Italy midfielder Manuel Locatelli, according to Sassuolo’s sporting director, Giovanni Carnevali. He told Sky Italia the only interest from within Serie A had come from Juventus and that those talks would continue.

“It’s true that other clubs from abroad are interested,” he said. “Arsenal are one of these and they are ahead of everyone else because they have made us an important proposal. Indeed up to now they are the only club which has presented a concrete offer.”