Friday, January 27, 2023

Sambi thanks Kompany for helping him seal Arsenal move

Sambi Lokonga has thanked Vincent Kompany for driving him to take more responsibility at Anderlecht and says it was down to his former boss that he sealed a move to Arsenal.

While the midfielder had already broken into the first team at Lotto Park prior to Kompany becoming head coach in 2020, he grew in stature and importance under the ex-City defender who made him club captain earlier this year.

While initial reports suggested Thierry Henry played a role in the youngster’s summer switch to the Emirates, Arteta cited a positive endorsement from Kompany, who he coached at the Etihad, as an important factor.

In an interview with Belgian publication Sport Foot Magazine, Lokonga opened up on his relationship with Kompany.

“We had a great relationship, Vinnie and me,” he said. “He had some players of which he asked for more and I was one of them.

“In matches, I knew I couldn’t afford to be at the same level as the others. He wanted me always to do more, to carry the team both on the pitch and off it.

“It’s thanks to him that I got this transfer. He never let me rest and without him I wouldn’t have progressed so much.”

Given both Arteta and Kompany have close ties with Pep Guardiola, it’s unsurprising to hear both coaches focus on the finest of details when preparing their teams. All the same, Sambi says he’s already noticed key differences in the way the Spaniard and Belgian operate.

“In real life, it’s not exactly the same style of coach,” said Sambi. “Of course, there are a lot of similarities in substance. There is the will to find the free man, to function with short and quick combinations. There is also this desire to insist on the smallest details and then, more generally, what their playing philosophy.

“However, in the form and the manner of putting it in place, it is very different. Arteta is closer to his group. He participates in small training games for example, where Vinnie kept more distance. This is in no way a reproach, just an observation.”

As part of the same interview (quotes relayed by Sport Witness), Lokonga, despite not being on the field, remarked that he felt “humiliated” by City’s 5-0 win against Arsenal in August but maintains that the club has taken strength from its difficult start to the season.

“You’re going to tell me it’s a stock answer, but I think that it’s when things are tough that you strengthen the links in a team, in a group of staff.

“Here, now, we are all looking in the same direction. We all want to sail the boat forward. We know we need to progress still. We especially need to be meaner”.

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I’m excited to see him step up to fill the Xhaka void in the coming months. Been impressed with what I’ve seen from him so far and more playing time will help his development.
If he does well, no saying Granit walks straight back into the team. And that’s what we all want – competition for places that is, not Xhaka out! I’m not a hater 😉

Morrisey fan #1

The competition for places in this team at this point is looking great. I honestly am also seeing the bright light at the end of the tunnel that MA described.


the one area i think we were most worried about this summer was midfield. but with partey back in form and lokonga and odegaard fitting in so quickly those fears have now dissipated. we have a number of very able replacements for xhaka and not having europe will mean a couple of injuries won’t be as big a problem as it would otherwise.


I fully agree with this and I think this has been the issue with most people when it comes to Xhaka. It has been that he seems to walk into every side we have had despite is quite obvious limitations. Part of that is down to not having much better, but part if also down to coaches letting him off too easily for his mistakes. He’s obviously a very good trainer and good character in the squad – players and managers like him, but that alone isn’t enough. If Xhaka was a solid squad player at Arsenal I don’t think… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

This is an excellent post!


I still think you’re underrating Xhaka. Don’t assume your opinion is fact. Remember, it’s not just at Arsenal that he’s walked into the starting XI. It’s everywhere he’s been that he is a leader and important player.
I understand to an extent some people’s frustrations with him, but if he was anywhere near as bad as a lot of fans think then he would have a completely different career trajectory. Try looking at him with fresh eyes from now on.


More penalties conceded than any other midfield player in EPL history. 9th worst Red card rate (per game) in EPL history (all players). So fresh eyes once again…and then again after the next error or moment of madness…and the next…and the next. Sure, he’s a solid player, but that’s just it – as a squad player and a rotational piece he’d be great. As a first choice midfielder in the EPL with Arsenal we’ve gone from champions league to Europa league to mid table. That is a fact. It’s not all on him, but this “fresh eyes” approach has run… Read more »

Thierry Bergkamp (non negotiable)

physically slow, needs too much time to process what’s happening around him, no right foot, turns as quick as a tank when in possession, can’t play under pressure to name a few

Bleeding gums murphy

I hate to say it as it’s affirming gary Neville but he summed it up for me on Sunday. “When’s he good he’s good but to often he is a liability”


Yes, let’s all pretend he’s our midfield talisman! Because burying our heads in the sand about the quality of our squad has worked well so far. What is the career trajectory? He played in the Swiss League, a middling team in Bundesliga, then brought in by Wenger with zero fanfare, let alone anyone knowing who he was. This argument that Xhaka is just misunderstood is flat out wrong. We’ve watched him play game in game out for years. He has never inspired a win that I can think of. He’s scored a hatful of goals, gotten sent off a lot,… Read more »


The truth is that once Xhaka has fully recovered, he’ll still be one of the first names. We might not understand why as fans. But his coaches everywhere see him in ways that we don’t.


Is it just me or are our players are amazingly good at words?


Agreed, although my impression on this particular one is that this is translated into English with a fair bit of artistic license from the translator.

Walmart Heiress

Yes, the word reproach is not one that I have ever heard a footballer use 😆


Well definitely, you know what I mean, they, like, done do speaking betterer than some England captains at the end of the day


You have won the internet for today.


Guy speaks like a poet.


Sounds like a very thoughtful, eloquent guy. I’m really happy we got him, and suspect he’ll be a mainstay of our midfield for years to come.


Sambi said he was humiliated by City’s win. This is what the express reported (no link to this butt rag): ‘Albert Sambi Lokonga felt ‘humiliated’ by Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta soon after joining’
The gutter press in this country.

Cranky Colin

Sad bastards

Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta



Total impunity to print lies. Almost to the contrary the govt. basically answers to their beck and call – particularly that fucker Murdoch (Dick Desmond is basically just a lil’ wannabe Murdoch) – quivering in their boots at doing anything that might upset him. Murdoch is subtly responsible for so much changes of global governments over the last four decades. It could be argued his late falling out with Trump in the US election and the shift in fox news reporting right at the end of the campaign may have had some influence on the results there too.

Diaby's Left Peg

Let’s all agree to no links to the Sun, Mail or Express 🙂


The new Vieira? Hoping so…


Sambi has looked really good but he’s style and physique are very different from Vieira’s. He plays more like a modern regista; very confident on the ball, can pass off either foot, comfortable under a press. Looks a real gem.


Reminds me of fernandinho personally


I was actually thinking Jorginho


Very unlike Vieira then…


Vieira had those qualities but he was a more dynamic player, a force of nature at his best really. Don’t see that kind of verve with Sambi yet.

Pat Fried Rice with Egg

More like pre injury Diaby..


Bellerin – Debuchy like opportunity here.

Granit(e) hard!

Yeah Sambi, if the game with spuds is what the meaner Arsenal looks like, I like!😁

Reiss Neverseen vs the DicTeta

Thank you Vincent Kompany and Thierry Henry for convincing Sambi.

Looking at his Anderlecht games, it seems Sambi played either as a DM in a double-6 (two man) midfield or as the runner in a three man midfield. So he IS capable of playing Xhaka’s role.

Hopefully he can step-up because there’s no better time to cement your place in an Arteta squad than when your competition is out injured.

Grannis Xhergkamp

Eloquently put…
He’s going to be a class-act for years to come.
I especially like the last sentence of the whole article…


This team has needed a meaner streak for sometime. Nobody is going to fuck with Partey, Gabriel, Tomiyasu, Lokonga, and Ramsdale in particular, even Tierney and Saka who are pretty versed in the darker arts have some solid nous about them – White is starting to look like one not to be messed will as well. This may the best thing about the signings – their characters. Determined, strong-willed, and tough (throw in Odegaard and ESR and AMN into those character traits too; don’t know enough about Tavares yet, but I like the looks too). Exactly the characters we need… Read more »

Dublin Gooner

Agree wholeheartedly. In games where their silken skills weren’t quite having the desired effect, The Invincibles weren’t shy about showing a flash of steel. Not making comparisons btw, just stating a fact.


Daveo, Almost as if the current, seemingly inexperienced manager who was known for these same qualities actually knew what player qualities and personalities were needed to improve the TEAM, who woulda thunk that?


Yeah, that is great because there were certainly some serious errors (by that same inexperienced management team) made in recruitment and contract renewals previously (i.e., Willian, Luiz, Soares, Mari(?), Xhaka). Crediting them for shifting direction – a squad refreshing has been overdue. Now we have actual evidence of a change in recruitment strategy AND a shift to a more intruiging up-tempo system I’ll get behind Arteta and Edu more than I did over the previous 12 months, within which recruitment and playing style looked questionable at best.

Wrighty's hats

Just had a thought, maybe others came to this conclusion long ago – I wonder if management targeted some (clearly hindsight changes this view) seasoned and experienced players to bridge the gap between the time MA/Edu et al arrived and when they could find all of these younger players with the desired mentalities/personalities/attributes – who, as EmileSmithWhoa said, all seem to represent what what we know MA to have been as a player and would want in a team as a manager. Unfortunately as you said, some of the contract decisions have been sub-optimal to say the least – and… Read more »


i love how he said ‘We especially need to be meaner’. Everybody else goes on about our soft underbelly but the NLD starting XI seemed to be a pretty mean lot to me. Even Auba, who is often called pedestrian was seen pressing and sliding and contesting headers with centre backs (and often winning them).
Hopefully this is the perfect mix of steel and flair to take us to our inevitable title triumph next summer pus for the top 6 and potentially even top 4 spots.




I was keen to see our starting 11 against Burnley, but the balance wasn’t quite right

Granted it was the first time we tried it, with a lot of new players, on a difficult pitch

But I’d still be reluctant to move Saka from the right, or change the 3 players behind the striker from Sunday

I’m gutted for Xhaka, he’s more important than many seem to think, but it’s now a good opportunity for Sambi, Niles, or Elneny to stake a claim


Now is your time, Sambi.


he talks like a champ already! really like the profile of player we have been signing under arteta. all young hungry very intelligent lads by the sounds of it.

Billy bob

Liking sambi a lot, got a great attitude and when you compare it to some players Arteta was keen to get rid of… well, Arteta was right!! I don’t miss ozil, gendozy ( yup he is still behaving like a grade A tit) and other such wasters!!! Onwards and upwards arsenal 👍


Really eloquent kid. Seems to be a great character. Top signing.

Slow to start, slow to finish

I think the difference in starting ANM or Sambi might depend on the competition. AMN has defensive experience that may be required which might factor into Arteta starting 11 on the day. I am excited for both players and how we might maintain momentum through some rotation. Which, I believe, will be necessary.


I think AMN has a big role to play this season particularly in the cups, but also coming on as a sub to help shut teams down. Defensively and positionally he is excellent. Technically, he is still a little iffy to be our first choice, which puts him behind Lokonga in my books. But that is a key role and his mobility and strength just make him even more suited to it.


Totally love this guy already


Love this kid. He is more of a Partey style player, but I think he’s intelligent enough to partner him really well too. Exciting next couple of months for him.


seems like now might be your time sambi. I reckon you’re good but here’s your opportunity to prove it…


Solid kid… Love the fact that we signing leaders… I’m afraid Barcelona might come in for Arteta in the no to distant future


He sounds really intelligent and thoughtful

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