Let’s all do Lokonga – More evidence of a clear Arsenal transfer strategy

Let’s all do Lokonga


The long-telegraphed signing of Belgian U21 International Albert Sambi Lokonga was announced by Arsenal yesterday. He becomes Arsenal’s second confirmed addition to the first team squad this summer, with Ben White, assuming his medical is satisfactory, post Euro holiday being the third.

Tavares, signed last week from Benfica, Lokonga and White show a clear departure from the haphazard, seemingly ‘agent’ led gambles of the past few years. The signings of Cedric, Luiz and latterly Willian, saw the club spin a casino style roulette wheel, hoping for success with transfers like these, rather then showing a clear vision for the growth of the squad. Tavares, for example at 21, is three years younger than Tierney, and can work alongside the injury prone Scot, learning and be ready to step up when needed and ultimately even replace the Scot, if that day comes.

That is no to say that as free transfers, Cedric and certainly Luiz were total disasters, although Willian has been, but this window seems to demonstrate a clearer strategy. Arsenal will fund the high ticket deals where necessary, as the Ben White deal at £50 million shows but all three of the newcomers are young, with scope to a higher ceiling to be attained. All will fit to the way Arteta want to play and all are signing on long contracts, ensuring high sell on value if that is the case down the line.

Lokonga, or Sambi, as his shirt suggested he wishes to be called, looks a fabulous deal. In current terms for an established first teamer in Belgium, who is on the brink of breaking in an aging national squad, the outlay is not high, and will give Arteta time to integrate him in the team, without undie pressure, on him or the player.  Given that Kompany and Arteta have remained close and have discussed the player at length, it is highly unlikely that Arsenal will find themselves with another Guendouzi situation. Lokonga has the talent but he comes with a maturity, having captained Anderlecht and a positive work rate and attitude.

“He has been coached well by Vincent Kompany and his team at Anderlecht. I know Vincent very well and he talks so highly about Albert and the positive impact he had to Anderlecht in recent seasons.


Discussed player

I still believe the club are looking at a replacement for the seemingly departing Xhaka, to be the first-choice partner for Thomas Partey, but the young Belgian has the advantage, and his has confirmed this himself, that he can play at 6 or 8, so can step in for either of the regular central midfielders. For those concerned that Mo Elneny would stay as first change this might be a relief. Without placing undue pressure on the youngster, he will be as Edu was, able to cover for Vieira or Gilberto.

I am sure we are all looking forward to watching Sambi in pre-season action very soon.

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