Do Arsenal already have a readymade midfield replacement on our books?

Arsenal’s desire to sign a marquee midfielder this summer has been extensively discussed, but it is possible that they already have a solution.

Albert Sambi Lokonga departed Arsenal for Luton on loan during the summer transfer window. He was expected to join the Premier League’s newcomers and hopefully contribute significantly to their relegation battle this season. His early months with the Hatters were challenging, with injuries causing him to miss a few games. Fortunately, he recovered from his injury in December and has been a constant starter for Luton ever since.

Our Gunner’s performance has improved drastically in recent weeks. He has consistently demonstrated his ability to perform in the Premier League.

The midfielder is the buzz at Arsenal after his performance against Manchester United on Sunday as well as an impressive few weeks with Luton Town.

Luton manager Rob Edwards has been extremely supportive of Lokonga, and the trust he has placed in him has resulted in some outstanding performances and a substantial improvement in his team’s form.

Jurgen Klopp, like many PL fans, has been impressed with Lokonga. Interestingly, the Liverpool boss, who for sure has an eye for talent, suggests that Arsenal were even unwise to loan out the midfielder when he could have impacted them. Listening to Klopp, you can’t help but feel Lokonga could play a huge role for Arsenal next season.

The Liverpool boss said via Football London when looking forward to welcoming Luton to Anfield: “When you see Albert Sambi-Lokonga playing and you think, ‘Oh! He’s an Arsenal player, and they loaned him?’ Interesting.”

Arsenal should reward the Belgian midfielder following his superb loan displays at Luton Town. The £15 million signing in 2021 might save Arteta millions in transfer fees as he looks to revamp his aging midfield. Mohammed Elneny, Thomas Partey, and Jorginho’s long-term futures aren’t guaranteed.

One thing is certain, despite deemed not ready for Arsenal’s first team in the summer, he is still keen on improving enough to make his mark at the Emirates. As he said himself: “I think it’s too early to say [what the future holds],” Lokonga told DH. “I haven’t had any contact with Mikel Arteta yet. I’m concentrating on Luton. We’ll talk to Arsenal at the end of the season.

“But everything will happen gradually. I still consider myself an Arsenal player. I’m appreciated there by the fans and the staff. I think I can have a future at Arsenal, but that will depend on my performances here. I’ve always said that as long as I have a contract with the Gunners, I’d like to make my mark there.”

Lokonga’s progressive development could be a great boost for Arsenal and could save some much-needed transfer funds this summer.

Daniel O

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  1. How has he been played at Luton? My impression of him is that his best position is the box to box role, and his best attribute is his ball carrying ability, but I’ve not seen much of it at arsenal. At Luton, he’s playing alongside Barkley – I’m unclear if Barkley plays more as the holding midfielder/pivot or if they share the cm roles in a more traditional midfield partnership?
    Btw, I do think Barkley would be a good signing for arsenal – he’s much better in the more withdrawn role he plays for Luton than he was in his previous, more attack-focussed roles imo

    1. For Davi
      @ Luton ASL is the more defensive minded MF. Barkley is the prober and tends to make key goal threatening passes. ASL does a little bit of that. He is playing more Declan Rice position. He could be great for squad rotation and replacing Elneny and at a stretch Partey (not quite there).

      1. Barclay’s 30 years old, and as we already have 3 midfield players of that age and more there’s no point in adding another.
        Sambi might work though.

  2. I’m happy for Sambi. He’s been performing well for Luton for a while now. The highlight for me is that he’s improved defensively which was the point of concern at Arsenal because his passing has always been tidy. Looks more physically adjusted as well. There were question about his attitude in the past but him looking forward to fight for a place at Arsenal shows me he’s improved in that regard. I think he can do a job as a squad player and potentially become more influential if he improves further.

    Keeping Sambi would potentially save Arsenal the need to buy two new midfielders and focus on strengthening other areas. I can see Arsenal buying just one more midfielder(Zubimendi?), keeping Lokonga and keeping one of Partey/Jorginho. Think the loan has worked well for everyone involved. Lokonga has gotten much needed minutes and experience, Luton have benefited from his contributions and Arsenal could end up with a squad player who is adjusted to the league and already knows the team. On the other hand,if Arsenal decide to sell, they’ll likely get a decent fee because of his most recent performances. It’s almost like the Willock loan. Win win everywhere.

  3. I’d love to see Sambi back at Arsenal not as a replacement for, but as a complement to, a maquee midfield signing especially as Partey and Elneny, at least, are likely leaving the club

  4. No, just because he’s performing well somewhere else doesn’t mean he’s ready to play for us. We need to be okay with letting players go and finding careers elsewhere. If he does well there then thats great for him. His obstacles at Arsenal were just meant to be a part of his progress and for a career somewhere else. not necessarily here.

  5. Before he came to Arsenal he was a player with talent and potential. His time at Arsenal was not too great. He has gone to Luton and seems to be flying. Maybe, he doesnt fit in at Arsenal, maybe he isn’t good enough. Or maybe he just needs the confidence of his manager. Time will tell.

  6. He is still young so hopefully next 10 to 12 games at Luton he can be injury free and really gain more confidence and experience from playing

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