3 reasons why Albert Sambi Lokonga did not work out at Arsenal

  • Lokonga is said to be nearing a move to La Liga side Sevilla
  • It will mark the end of a three-year stint in the Premier League
  • The 24-year-old never lived up to his initial promise or price tag
Albert Sambi Lokonga struggled to make an impression at Arsenal
Albert Sambi Lokonga struggled to make an impression at Arsenal / Marc Atkins/GettyImages
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The legacy of Yaya Touré is still very much intact.

Arsenal (as always) are expected to host a big fire sale this summer and Albert Sambi Lokonga will be among the first to depart, with reports suggesting the 24-year-old is keen on a move to La Liga outfit Sevilla.

His exit will mark the end of a hugely disappointing stint in north London during which he made just 14 league starts over 18 months and generally failed to set the world alight - even if a loan spell at Luton offered some signs of promise.

For all his on-the-ball talent, Lokonga sadly never made a claim for the Arsenal first team (either in the club shirt or elsewhere) and it seems, therefore, that this mutual parting of the ways will be in the best interests of both parties.

3 reasons why Lokonga did not succeed at Arsenal

He could yet establish himself at another club, but here are three reasons why the Lokonga/Arsenal relationship did not work out.

1. Too raw for the Arsenal midfield

Ollie Watkins, Albert Sambi Lokonga
Arsenal v Aston Villa - Premier League / Visionhaus/GettyImages

Perhaps this explains why Mikel Arteta is slow to integrate the youth.

In 2021, Lokonga arrived at Arsenal with quite the reputation and an impressive CV: he was on the fringes of the Belgium squad (called up in March and September of that year), had sported the armband at Anderlecht and, as alluded to earlier, was tipped by manager Vincent Kompany to become the next Yaya Touré.    

However, the step up to the Premier League is very difficult, and especially so for a 21-year-old with no prior experience of football outside Belgium.

Lokonga bore an obvious talent but was clearly far too raw for the Gunners’ midfield and struggled to get to grips with our domestic pace, while the pressure around Arsenal at that time (back-to-back eighth-place finishes) meant there was no time or interest in waiting for him to adjust.

His baptism of fire backfired, and his small development since then has simply not matched the speed of Arsenal’s progression over recent campaigns - a fact that now renders him surplus to requirements.

The big move came too soon for him and, now, it seems the Arteta project has passed him by.

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