Friday, June 21, 2024

Lokonga expects Arsenal exit after recent discussion

Albert Sambi Lokonga has confirmed his agent has been tasked with finding him a new club after Arsenal confirmed he’s surplus to requirements at the Emirates.

The Belgium international, 24, should have Premier League suitors after a promising season playing on loan for Luton Town although it remains to be seen whether he’ll stick things out in England.

Signed from Anderlecht in July 2021, there were high hopes the midfielder would provide long-term competition for Thomas Partey, especially given the glowing reports from his former boss Vincent Kompany. 

While he showed flashes of promise in the first half of his debut season, he lost his momentum after Christmas and never seemed to recover. Mikel Arteta allowed him to join Crystal Palace on loan in January 2023, despite Mohamed Elneny suffering a season-ending injury, and again he struggled, playing just nine times for the Eagles as Patrick Vieira made way for Roy Hodgson.

Having recruited Declan Rice and Jorginho, it was clear Lokonga’s path to regular game time was blocked in N5 and it made sense for him to go out on loan.

His performances this year for the Hatters garnered plenty of praise, including from Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, but he also suffered two hamstring injuries that restricted him to 19 appearances. All the same, he seemed to enjoy being a bigger fish in a smaller pond.

“The love I have received has been amazing, it’s been unbelievable and I’ve never seen this kind of support,” he told BBC Three Counties Radio. 

“I will be back here for sure. If I’m not playing for Luton I will come for sure to see the guys because I think this was the best decision of my life to come here, to play for this club and I thank Rob [Edwards] for inviting me to join him and be on this journey.

“I’ve loved everything about here, my time was amazing. I think what the club stands for, the values, that was the right place for me and I’m really happy that I made this choice.

“We’ve grown a lot as a team and the club also as the club has had to adapt quickly to the Premier League, so it was an amazing journey.”

On the subject of his Gunners future, he added: “For me, I had a discussion with Arsenal and the conclusion was the best thing for me was to leave the club, so now it’s up to my agent and the club to find something. I still have a contract there, one year plus a one-year option so let’s see what happens.”

Arsenal paid €17.5 million (including add-ons) for Lokonga. It’ll be interesting to see how much we can recoup.

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Death by 300,000 Passes

7 mil.

Dr Zebra

I’d like to think that’s low but it’s hard to say. I’d say 15 million would be nice. Obviously we could improve in our selling department but I think we’ll really see that improvement once we sell players who are part of the squad

Death by 300,000 Passes

I think that nowadays there are practically three market prices. One is the price that we and the other top* can and do pay. Only such club can afford to pay 17, for Lokonga or 35m EUR for Fabio Vieira. Another is what the same player would cost if another club is wants to buy him (and no “top” club is interested). For example, Barco was sold to Brighton for 10m EUR, but if, let’s say, we wanted to buy him, the price would have been 15, maybe 20m. And the third price is when we are selling a player… Read more »


Agree with this – though definitely wouldn’t underplay the salary element in the third category. If we’ve paid a decent fee but not gone crazy on the wages, a decent proportion should be broadly recoupable if the player is young enough and hasn’t stagnated massively. However, if we’ve signed a player on the kind of wage that makes him most club’s best paid player, it’s unaffordable for those clubs to do anything but loan them – which is principally why we’ve had so many loans.

Death by 300,000 Passes

Even if the wages are within what we consider modest and normal range, they still can be significant for other clubs. In Luton, for example, Sambi was the top earner with his 50k/w, earning even more than Ross Barkley.


Personally, I think he did little at Luton to move that figure any further north than that. It wouldn’t surprise me if we got Leno/Holding type money for him. Anyway, I wish him well wherever he goes.

Arun S

Considering his age and relatively good season with Luton, I will be disappointed if he went for Holding/Leno money. Around 10m sounds about right.

I miss santi cazorla

He was bought in as an 8, but due to Partey Injuries, he played as 6 which didn’t suit him at all, as he lacked positional awareness of DM and below average tackling abilityto. Considering his skill sets like good at dribbling, carrying and forward passibg, he could be a good second choice 8.


Sell him to Burnley. They got premier League money and Kompany loves him


Loves him enough to recommend, but not enough to take him on loan.


Since Kompany is going to Bayern he now has the requiste funds to make him his star midfielder

Dr. Gooner

Kompany looks like a great coach in terms of tactics and man management but his transfer market moves at Burnley were awful. No surprise another player he was high on didn’t pan out at this level.


Kompany is going to Bayern!


Was impressed whenever I saw him for Luton. Always had the technical ability, but looks to have added physicality and positional discipline to his game. Shame it won’t work out here but I’m sure he’ll go on to have a decent career at least.


Sambi Nolonga

John C

Maybe a loan back to Luton with a purchase clause if they return to the Premier League is the answer although with Ross Barkley leaving that isn’t a forgone conclusion.

Let’s hope he’s done enough this season and can find a new club but it’s never going to be easy selling our unwanted players. Whoever we’re trying to sell will be paid an Arsenal premium relative to what other clubs are prepared to pay, even someone as relatively low paid as Lokonga.

Dr. Gooner

I’m a little bit surprised that the club would weaken their hand by being so direct with Sambi. It’s the morally right thing to do but it weakens our negotiating position. I’m also a little bit surprised that Mikel didn’t want to have a closer look at him because he was impressive at times at Lutron. That said although he could still turn into a real player, he remains a project and this Arsenal team is ready to win now. We need ready made game changers, and we need to generate funds for that, so on that level this makes… Read more »


I suspect that the club have been very active behind the scenes working on deals for the last few months — incomings and outgoings — as Arteta will want the side settled in quickly before the campaign begins. We’ve returned to dining at the top table, so I don’t think we’ll be too fussed about prices (within reason). If Eddie and Ramsdale go, and even ESR, they will raise considerable funds due to their Englishness, but the rest will be for sale prices, to be sure. I’m very excited to see who comes in this summer, and I know I… Read more »

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