Report: Arsenal coaches impressed by Albert Sambi Lokonga
Mikel Arteta tried a lot of different things during Arsenal’s tour of the United States. The Gunners boss wants to explore all the options he has before the start of the new season, and Lokonga has apparently caught the eye.
The Belgian joined the club from Anderlecht for £18 million last year (Goal). He was recommended to Arteta by Manchester City legend Vincent Kompany, and many view him as a fine prospect for the future.
Lokonga is by no means the first-choice midfielder at Arsenal, but after a few impressive performances in pre-season, he must have boosted his chances of game time in the upcoming campaign.
- ‘He’s going absolutely nowhere’: Everyone at Arsenal really rates Albert Sambi Lokonga, he won’t be sold – journalist
Arsenal coaches impressed by Albert Sambi Lokonga in number eight position
Football London reporter Kaya Kaynak was discussing Arsenal’s reported interest in Youri Tielemans when he revealed that people at London Colney have been blown away by Lokonga in pre-season.
The 22-year-old can play as both a number eight and in defensive midfield. He can do a fine job as a six, but his performances in a slightly more advanced position have been excellent for Arsenal.
A great example is when he came on as a substitute against Chelsea in the Gunners’ 4-0 win last month. The game was all but over when he was introduced in place of Granit Xhaka in the 78th minute, but what he did in stoppage time explains why Arsenal coaches are impressed.
Lokonga got on the end of a cross from Cedric Soares inside the box and headed home Arsenal’s fourth goal of the night. He was higher up the pitch than any of his teammates, and his run wasn’t picked up by any Chelsea player.
The latter is an excellent trait to have for a box-to-box midfielder, and Arteta will love how the Belgian is developing that.
The new Yaya Toure
During Yaya Toure’s time at Manchester City, there probably wasn’t a midfielder as good as him in the Premier League. The Ivorian was absolutely unstoppable on his day, and he was one of the biggest reasons why City were so successful in that period.
Kompany watched Toure play week in, week out, and he knows how good the Ivorian was. The Belgian, now the manager of Burnley, once boldly compared Lokonga to the Ivory Coast and Manchester City legend.
“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,” Kompany said last year.
“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.”
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