Albert Sambi Lokonga arrived from Anderlecht last summer with a growing following, but his debut season for Arsenal hasn’t been amazing.
The Belgian picked up a number of minutes earlier in the season, with both Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka both missing in spells, but he failed to command a regular role under Mikel Arteta, and has played very little since the turn of the year.
Having been thrust back into the starting line-up since the international break after the latest injury to the Ghanaian, the team has failed to impress, something that shouldn’t be blamed on his inclusion, but the inevitable finger-pointing will partially be turned on him somewhat amidst our struggles. While his performances on the whole have seemed acceptable, the formation change which came with it has left us disjointed which should fall on the manager.
Ahead of the summer window however, he doesn’t appear to have proven to the manager that he is worthy of regular playing time so far this season, and he could well find that he falls further down the pecking order this summer, with a new central midfielder believed to be on our wishlist in the coming window.
With us looking in danger of dropping out of the European places for yet another season, a new midfield arrival could well mean that Lokonga is moved on, potentially on loan. As shown by the club this season, they aren’t looking to have too many players sitting around that could be picking up minutes elsewhere, and Lokonga could fit into that category, although just like this term, those loan deals may come in January should we have been eliminated from the FA and League Cup competitions.
While it seems a little early to consider a permanent exit for the Belgian, the manager does seem to have shown a lack of faith in him, something he may feel has been justified by recent outings, and I feel like a loan deal could well be on the cards for the new season, especially if we do fail to secure a place in Europe.
How do you feel Lokonga’s debut season has gone so far? Has he done enough to say he will improve if given more opportunities next season?