Opinion: Sambi Lokonga isn’t the answer to Arsenal’s midfield problems

Albert Sambi Lokonga was a surprising transfer target for Arsenal this summer and even more interestingly, they have quickly wrapped up the signing of the Belgian.

He joins Nuno Tavares as Arsenal’s latest transfer arrivals as they bid to bolster their squad ahead of the upcoming season.

The two players who have joined us so far are hardly inspiring names and a club looking to get back inside the top four, would ideally want to sign better players.

We are expected to give them the benefit of the doubt, but how long are we going to sign players who will need time and then turn around to fire our manager because his team isn’t performing to the required standard.

Our midfield is one position that needs serious strengthening this summer after we lost the likes of Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard.

These departed stars are top-quality footballers and it is only right that we replace them with players as good as they are, or even better.

Sambi Lokonga comes to the Emirates with huge potential, but Joe Willock also has that same potential.

I would even argue for Willock to play ahead of him considering that he shone in the Premier League last season with Newcastle United.

I hope Arsenal gets the best out of Lokonga, but I believe we need to start signing much better targets like Marcel Sabitzer and Houssem Aouar.

An article from Ime

Tags Albert Sambi Lokonga


  1. It’s all very well playing in Belgium’s league but the EPL is something else entirely. It takes time to adjust and it’s very physical. Time will tell how well or quickly he can adapt but we bo need someone who can come in and partner Partey from the get go.

    1. We will never know until he is on board and playing for Arsenal. We often hear people casting shadows on leagues like the Ligue1 and the Belgian league but just look around and see how many proper stars from these leagues have set the Efl alight. In fact, the efl has been very poor in producing worthy exports

  2. People like Ime said things like this when we signed Anelka, Vieira and other relatively unknown players. Have some faith eh!

    1. And also said the same about Elneny, Ryo Miyachi and Wellington Silva. So what is the point here?

  3. Tavares and Lokonga are back ups and ones for the future. They cannot be counted on to make imminent impact.

    Still waiting for signings that would make us actually climb the table (White isn’t one either).

  4. Nothing like getting behind our new signee. I hope Lokonga hasn’t discovered JA yet…

    1. Agree that at the moment Lokonga looks like a backup, but we should be positive. Lokonga is the captain of Anderlecht, is on the fringes of the Belgium squad and comes highly recommended. Still more upgrades in midfield required, but he does make the squad better; young, leadership ability, obvious talent and room for improvement, hopefully proves a good value for investment option.

      1. Ozzie, true, he and Tawares will definately start in the Carabao cup and hopefully we win it this season. For all the lenghty talk of Cabellos, he flopped for two seasons, so no big loss. Odde returned with some 2 goal and 2 assists in 20 games (EL+EPL), not a big upgrade over the “assist king” 1 goal and 2 assists in 18 EPL games. The point is why are some writing off these young hungry players when well paid established names have failed us? Were Saka, ESR, Chambers not the surprises last season? Are these big names on mega wages? Sambi was the Anders captain for a reason, Tawares played for Benfica, a big name in the Portuguese league, so he knows how to cope with pressure. Where were the senior players on those fateful Europen nights? I’m happy with these two young lads, they will add speed and stami to our slow and tired looking squad. One good GK, CAM and back up striker comming off the bench are required right now. The fact that big name signings – Ozil, Sanchez, Laca, Xhaka, Mustafi,Pepe, Mkhitaryan – all have failed us over the years, so have the experienced players – Willian, Kolasinac, Elneny, Leno,Luiz and have returned us ZERO or near to zero on transfers. Go back to the youth

    2. Spot on. JA should give the guy a break, he has not step a foot and they are being negative.
      He is 21, called for national team in Euros and already was captin for Belgium champions. The fee is reasonable. He is talented and can develop well with Arsenal.
      That said, I like Willock too.

  5. but, we have to have faith and belief in the manager, surely ?.i hope the author revisits this “article” next may, at the end of the upcoming season. will he hold his hand up if he is wrong. time will cure all.

  6. Bloody marvellous.

    The kid has just signed for us, and is yet to kick a ball in anger.

    Look at Kroenkes edict.

    This player fits the demographic perfectly.

    Would we prefer another Willian ?

    There will be other signings to follow- but give this lad a break for God’s sake !

    Welcome to Arsenal Sambi !!!

  7. Beautiful, away from the drama of the fan base arsenal needs players that will handle the fields,not to overhaul the team with potentials and no talent.

  8. Some people are never satisfied… shall we head to West London for more pensioners instead then?

    1. 👍 No thank you, Sue; I have a Chelsea Pensioner in my toby jug collection, so one is enough! 😊

  9. Maddison to Arsenal news now getting heated up in the media. Club is still interested in Odegaard btw as well as Grealish.

    Ramsdale now ahead of Johnstone for GK target.

      1. Only deluded fans will think Lokonga would be the one to take us to top 4. I believe he is a back up. If Arsenal isn’t signing premier league ready stars then we should expect another failed season. Football is not magic.

        1. Were Leno,Gabriel, Tierney,partey premier league ready when signed??

          Let’s give the lad a chance… success all depends on his determination

          1. Did the two “top class” players take us to the top?
            I thought we had just had our worst season for over two decades?
            The Arsenal obviously do not need Real Madrid reserves, especially when the said players have said they want to play for them over us.

    1. Hope ramsdale rumours not true shocking keeper def not a upgrade on leno been relegated with every club nowhere near Arsenal quality wouldn’t pay 30 pence never mind million!!

    2. Kev, strong word is AMN is being offered as part of a swap deal for Maddison. If he goes to Leicester City it would be interesting to see if Brendan Rodgers can turn him into a midfielder or convince him that his future lies at RB?

    3. Kev, if Arsenal pays £10 million let alone the quoted £30 million for Ramsdale, I will find it hard to forgive their ineptitude. Onana was the best buy, regardless of the ban.

  10. Ceballos was mostly meh to sh*t for us, and Sambi is not a Odegaard replacement. I like the look of Sambi and think he’ll be a successful PL midfielder, certainly more promising and exciting than the plodders who we’ve been agonizing over lately.

  11. I agree we need to sign a proven quality player to boost the midfield and would prefer Aouar to add creativity and Bissouma I wouldn’t touch Maddison with a barge pole I also agree Odegaard staying would have been a plus but Ceballos was poor during most of his time at Arsenal

    1. @wax you must be joking about Bruno Fernandes. Do you know his records in Lisbon. Now you will talk about ziyeck.

  12. I have a good feeling about this signing. I think he will bring the right kind of mentality to improve the side (captained Anderlecht at a young age and earned respect of his managers). It might not shine through fully this season ofc, but I’m very pleased we went for him.

  13. A blend of youth and experience is needed to build a balanced squad and I am sure Arteta and his recruitment team are fully aware of this.The headline of the article suggests that we ought not to have signed young Lokonga, but I’m pretty sure the writer would not be so naive and unreasonable to write him off before he has kicked a ball in anger?Other midfielders will arrive I am sure when we sell the likes of Xhaka,AMN and Torreria.Lokonga is highly rated by the Belgium national team manager, Kompany and Henri ,a trio who know a thing or to about the game.

  14. Great argument, but the real question is do we expect any good quality players, ready to create a difference in any team to join arsenal at this stage?

  15. We have to sign Houssem Aouar this transfer window before Lyon sell him to another club then it will be ages until we have another chance at signing him.

  16. For me, the 3 signings so far are here to make a difference….soccer today is dominated by quick young players and we have a lot of them currently, hoping our style of play would be a lot quicker and direct..

    Lokonga would be a great partner to partey…same way Ben white would be with Gabriel….then tavares and Pepe would dominate the left side of attack…..can’t wait to see the right back and new goalkeeper…

    1. lol, so where are you going to play Tierney? We all know the two untouchables in that team, Tierney and Saka

  17. the last time we looked like a decent outfit was when we had santi carrying the ball forward and opening spaces for our attackers … who is our santi today? thats the kind of player we need urgently … GK and RB are secondary targets right now even if bellerin leaves

  18. Lokonga was signed as a quality backup for squard dept. But hearing reviews about him I think he will fight for playing time. Football is no more just about what you have done, but what you are capable and determined to do.

    Also I’m not so keen on Madisson,especially at the figures he’s likely to cost. Aour is available for a third of that bread. Why not him? Because I’m sure we can’t do both.

    I’m also yet to be fully educated on why we are paying £50m for White.

    1. Arsenal could get Aouar or Sabitzer or Pereira and Bissouma or Neves plus have change for a new RB for the price being asked for Maddison.

  19. We have Elneny, Willock, Partey and now Lokonga for 38 league games and cup games added. At the moment Lokonga is going to get a lot of games
    Let’s hope we have another top notch midfield player like James Maddison coming in.

  20. Is it true that Lokonga has been captain of his team at such a young age? Is it also true that he was recommended to us by Thierry Henry? If these two questions are in the affirmative I believe we have a good player who is ready to compete for his place in the team. We shall find out soon.
    I doubt that Lokonga was signed to be kept on the bench. He might not be a household name but he has already established himself at such a young age. Those who are crying out for experience had better look no further than William and David Luiz and some other retired players who have been a disaster for us!

    1. Renato Sanchez has been mentioned many times;; however he is strongly linked to Liverpool for €35 million from. Lille.

  21. Lokonga should be given time, he deserves it, if he is highly rated by stars like Henry and Company. However, Arsenal should still go in for Aouar and Bissouma.

  22. The lad comes highly recommended, he looks happy to be at the Arsenal and indicates he has the desire to progress.

    I would rather him than another Willian type signing. I will enjoy the process of seeing how he develops and how the team comes together.

    There is so much more to supporting a team than the expectation of fleeting success. As with many on here I have followed the fortunes of this Club for over 50 years and it’s been one hell of a ride.

    It will continue to be a captivating journey, trust me, we won’t win the league every year, but you must enjoy the present, get behind the team and look forward to those rare golden days when it all works out.

  23. If we were just looking to replace Ceballos then Lokonga looks more than capable of that. Yes Arsenal need another good creative MF who can also score goals & replacement for Granit X if he leaves. Willock should be retained & Willian sold.

  24. None of the expensive players signed in the last 3 to 4 years have done great for Arsenal. May be Auba did for a year until he got a new contract. If anything Arsenal should stop spending big on players over 25 as it is turning out to be a big risk.resale value goes down significantly if they don’t perform unlike younger players.

  25. Talk about impatience. Seems like the author forgot about the Euros and Copa America which basically made negotiations impossible until very recently. Clearly these are not the only guys Arsenal will be bringing in.

    Nevertheless Lokonga looks like a pretty shrewd signing to me, young, decent level big upside. Tavares is probably about as good as we could hope for as a backup for Tierney without breaking the bank. Ben White is a great signing in my opinion who will hopefully allow us to play out of the back and open up our offense.

    I would be shocked if we don’t bring in at least one marquee midfielder, a strong gk. We might even see a forward signing or right back as well. Part of it of course depends on outgoing players which is another thing holding up signings, especially in this pandemic affected market.

  26. If only you could support your belief with any facts, it’d be a more pleasant read. I too believed that Torreira was our very own Kante and that Wenger’s British core would flourish at Arsenal.

    But those were nothing more than
    beliefs. Opinions are supported by facts. Any facts. Please provide some when you write a similar article.

    All the best and COYG.

  27. This kid is going straight to the top, Yaya ain’t got nothing on our boy Lokonga

  28. Any info on koopmeiners? Read that clubs are in for him especially Liverpool and arsenal, how true is it and I pray he choose us over them if arsenal are seriously into getting him.

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