'I talked to him on the phone on Monday': Arsenal player is feeling 'disappointed', says his advisor
Albert Sambi Lokonga’s brother and ‘unofficial advisor’ has told RTBF that the Arsenal midfielder is “disappointed” with the prospect of missing out on the Champions League.
However, he also said Lokonga is “positive” about how his maiden season has panned out, and stressed that he’s not thinking of leaving this summer.
Lokonga joined Arsenal in the summer, the Gunners reportedly paying Anderlecht £15million plus add-ons.
The Belgian arrived at the Emirates Stadium as part of a new cohort of young players to help take the club forward.
However, Lokonga has seen his game time drop since moving to Arsenal.
To date, the 22-year-old has made 23 appearances for the Gunners, including 18 in the Premier League.
Of those, just 12 top-flight outings were as a starter, the rest seeing him come off the bench.
Last season, Lokonga – who Vincent Kompany has deemed “special” – started 27 Belgian league games, and was captain by the end of the campaign.
But despite his reduction in game time, Paul-José M’Poku insists his brother is more than happy with his first year at the Emirates.
And M’Poku made it clear that Lokonga has no intention of leaving this summer, though he would like to play more next season.
“He has so much talent”
“We’re not worried,” he told RTBF, via Sport Witness.
“Other players like Kevin De Bruyne or Romelu Lukaku have also taken time to establish themselves in the English Premier League.
“The difference with the Belgian league is big, and Arsenal is not a mid-table club.
“We would have signed with both hands for a first season with 33% of playing time. And Albert is improving every day, especially in training.
“But the competition is tough in the team, with boys like Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka or Mohamed Elneny, and the coach must respect a certain hierarchy.
“He has so much talent; sometimes it seems so easy for him that maybe the coach expects more from him?
“He shouldn’t rest on his abilities. And maybe he needs to show more in training. I’m not worried, and neither is he.
“It’s (a transfer) out of the question, at least for him.
“He is very well integrated into the club and the city, he is happy, although he hopes to play more next season, and his potential would deserve it.”
“He is positive about his season”
Arsenal are still in with a shout of making the top four ahead of the final matchday of the 2021-22 season.
However, rivals Tottenham are favourites for a Champions League finish, sitting fourth, two points clear of the Gunners.
M’Poku added that, while it would be disappointing not to qualify for the Champions League, there will still be European football for Lokonga to get game time.
“I talked to him on the phone on Monday,” he continued.
“He was disappointed because, with the defeat in Newcastle, the Champions League has moved away.
“But there will be the Europa League, and he is positive about his season.”
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