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Arsenal midfielder told to leave club in summer

Published: Updated: 06:40, 24 May 2024
Albert Sambi Lokonga joined the Gunners with big expectations in 2021

In a significant development, Arsenal and its midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga are set to part ways after just a few seasons. This decision marks a pivotal moment in the young player's career and reflects strategic squad management by the club.

Lokonga, 24, has recently been on loan at Luton Town from Arsenal. His performances there have garnered widespread acclaim, making him an integral part of Luton’s midfield. Partnering with Ross Barkley, he has demonstrated the talent that initially attracted Arsenal.

His form was so impressive that it caught the attention of pundits and fans alike. Former Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp encapsulated this sentiment when he remarked: “Lokonga, when you see him playing and you think: ‘Oh, he’s an Arsenal player and they loaned him?’ Interesting.”

Midfield already packed at Emirates

Despite his recent successes on loan at Luton Town, Lokonga’s tenure at Arsenal has been challenging since his £15 million transfer from Anderlecht in 2021. He struggled to secure a regular spot in Mikel Arteta’s plans due to limited first-team opportunities which led to previous loans including one spell at Crystal Palace before his current period at Luton.

During the 2023/24 campaign marred by injuries, Lokonga managed to make 17 Premier League appearances for the Hatters where he registered one goal and three assists.

This pattern of loans highlights a disconnect between Lokonga’s abilities and what is required tactically by Arsenal.

Mutual agreement for separation

The decision for Lokonga to leave The Gunners is not abrupt but rather comes as a result of careful deliberation between both parties involved - the club management as well as the player himself. Extensive discussions about his future led to the conclusion that it would be in their mutual best interest for Lokonga to pursue regular playing time elsewhere.

This decision was reached after this summer’s talks, as detailed by The Evening Standard, emphasising that the separation is a consensual and strategic move by both parties.

While Albert Sambi Lokonga's departure from Arsenal may seem surprising given his recent form at Luton Town, it is a well-considered decision based on the player's career progression and Arsenal's tactical needs. This development serves as an example of how football clubs must balance individual talent with team strategy.

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