Soccer

Anderlecht consider Ugbo as Lokonga replacement after he joins Arsenal

The forward is finally ready to leave the club that he has been at since he was 10 years old.

Anderlecht are considering Chelsea’s Ike Ugbo as a replacement for Albert Lokonga who joined Arsenal for £18 million ($25m).

Fellow Belgian giants Genk are also said to be the other frontrunners for Chelsea’s 22-year-old academy produced striker.

Chelsea are now considering raising the price tag beyond the initial £5 million ($6.8m) they previously set due to additional interest being received from clubs like Watford, Fulham, Bologna and Monaco.

Why are so many clubs in for Ugbo?

The striker has attracted interest due to his successful season on loan at Cercle Brugge last season, with just a year left on his Blues contract.

Ugbo’s 17 goals in 34 games for the relegation-threatened side alerted scouts from across Europe, who tend to watch Belgian football closely.

It followed on from a season at Dutch side Roda JC where Ugbo was also clinical.

Ugbo’s career has been transformed by a decision to play overseas having initially had several underwhelming loan spells in the lower leagues of English football beforehand.

“On my first loan [at Barnsley], I didn’t feel I showed the qualities that I really had. I think it was just a different world for me to go out into first-team football and adapt. I don’t think that I adapted quickly enough,” Ugbo told Goal last season.

Russian side Rostov have already seen a £3m ($4m) bid in January rejected by the west Londoners.

Ugbo is currently training with Thomas Tuchel and played 45 minutes in the recent 6-1 friendly win over Peterborough United.

What else is going on in the academy and loan groups?

Chelsea have sold Marc Guehi for £18 million ($25m) to Crystal Palace after he excelled in an 18-month loan spell at Swansea City.

Tino Livramento, Lewis Bate, Myles Peart-Harris and Dynel Simeu could all leave the Blues as they face an exodus from their youth groups.

However, Armando Broja has signed a new five-year Chelsea contract and could get a chance in Thomas Tuchel’s senior team next season.

Thierno Ballo could move on loan later in the transfer window with Rapid Vienna, Sturm Graz, Mainz and Arminia Bielefeld all interested.

Meanwhile, Wigan are among the clubs interested in taking Henry Lawrence on his first loan move away from the Blues.

Anderlecht and Genk are interested in Ike Ugbo as Chelsea consider raising the asking price with Monaco, Fulham and Watford also in the market for the young striker.

Tiemoue Bakayoko is keen to move to AC Milan, while Trevoh Chalobah is attracting interest from Brentford and across Europe after a successful loan spell at Lorient.

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