'I went to Mikel and said': Four-time PL winner says 'special' Arsenal ace is the 'new Yaya Toure'
Vincent Kompany spoke to Rio Ferdinand on the Vibe with Five podcast and delivered his verdict on Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Not many people knew about the young Belgian six months ago, but Mikel Arteta was desperate to sign him in the summer. After weeks of negotiations with Anderlecht, the Gunners sealed the deal for about £18 million. (Goal)
Lokonga wasn’t expected to play a big part in the early parts of the season, but injuries to Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka opened the door for him. He has played 12 times in all competitions already and has impressed everyone.
Kompany knows Lokonga very well thanks to their time together at Anderlecht. He has now had his say on his compatriot and his comments should really excite Arsenal supporters.
Kompany: Lokonga is the new Yaya Toure
The four-time Premier League winner said: “When I was still a player for City, I was coming to a point where I was thinking about my future. I was watching football from different countries, different places. And I saw Sambi play his first game – his first two games – then he got an injury to his knee.
“But the first thing I did when I saw Sambi is I went to Mikel and said, ‘You’ve got to watch this guy, he’s the new Yaya Toure.’ I still believe the same thing now. What I like with Sambi – and it’s rare in football, what Yaya did have – is he wants the ball no matter what.
“If the teams not doing well, give the ball to Sambi. If the team’s doing well, give the ball to Sambi. He will never hide away from his responsibility. The point is you need players who are not afraid to have the ball when the going gets tough.
“For me, that’s what Sambi has that makes him special.”
Toure is one of the greatest midfielders to ever play in the Premier League. The Ivorian could do everything on the football pitch and he is one of the biggest reasons why Manchester City won so many trophies during his time there.
Lokonga has a long way to go before he can become the new Toure, but he’s still only 22. He has a lot to add to his game, but under a manager like Arteta, who was a midfielder himself, he could reach a very high level.
Arsenal fans are absolutely delighted with how good Lokonga has been this season. He has really saved them in Xhaka’s absence, but it will be interesting to see how he fares against the bigger sides in the coming weeks.
The Gunners face Liverpool next in the Premier League and Lokonga is almost guaranteed to start. If he has a good game against the Reds, Arsenal fans have every reason to be excited about the player he can become in the coming years.