Has Lokonga proved that he is ready for the Arsenal first-team? (Opinion)

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?

Patrick

Tags Albert Sambi Lokonga

24 Comments

  1. I think Tavares, Lakonga, Pepe and to a large extent ESR have been let down badly this year. All are fantastic players or potentially fantastic, have all been ostracised, or binned off far too easily and not utilised properly. I think they have had their confidence knocked by their treatment.

    1. 1OO% spot on Reggie. Sambi was acquired to be a squad player but was thrown into the limelight, prematurely, because the dear leader decimated the squad. A talented prospect no doubt. Let’s hope we won’t be thrown onto the Arteta scrap heap like Nuno.

  2. Pepe for me need a full uninterrupt season on loan.

    Lakonga, Smith Rowe and Tavares need more timely introductions into the team at various times.

    Hopefully with European games and strengthening the spine of the team, this will facilitate a smooth rotating of the squad

    1. Lol
      I believe Liverpool trashing united calls for celebration, u don’t even trust your team to win enough games u are really on other teams to have a disastrous season that’s the only way we are snicking into Europe
      Man u is having their worst season in premier league era yet they are joint point on points with arsenal despite the so called improvements that alone tells us where we are as a football club

  3. Lokonga’s first season has been thoroughly underwhelming. It’s not even clear what type of a midfielder he is exactly, is it DM or CM? He can’t really tackle and can’t create or drive forward..he just jogs around on the pitch looking busy and makes an occasional long pass across the pitch. He’s barely even average IMO and same goes for Tavares.

    1. QD Reading between the lines, are you saying Scouting and Recruitment, especially Edu, made two costly errors? Ben White? Ramsdale too?

      1. I would say ramsdale and tomi good signings
        Tavares I see something in him .
        The other 3 just meh

  4. He doesn’t play as well as Partey in the CDM position, but he is good enough to play as one of double pivot

    He isn’t confident to turn in tight spaces and kinda slow

    1. Yea he is kinda slow but he has loads of potentials. I doubt Arsenal would have the patience to see him full developed into what we wanted. Hence there is still a need for a CDM to deputies for Pathey next season.

      1. I predict he would be kept, regardless of whoever the manager will be. But I believe Lokonga would like to be a regular starter next season

        1. Gai, Honestly I sometimes feel Unai Emery has unfinished business with Arsenal. But I kinda want Arteta for a season more to see what he can do after he is able to get his own kind of CF. Then he can be judged. Hope Kroenke, Josh and the board make right decision in the summer.

  5. Yes I rate Lokonga highly. No European football and the 0-3 start did for him. Arteta committed to a squad of 13 which to be fair worked brilliantly as the team achieved consistency having the 2nd best record to Man City over a 120 day run. Next season with a European campaign and 5 more additions Lokonga Pepe + Tavares will star. COYG.

  6. Hmmmn! Man United lost yesterday. What hope does Arsenal has against Chelsea ?. Lokonga is not ready for first team football, my opinion though!

  7. Haven’t noticed the potential yet, but who knows in a different system, or should I say proper system?

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