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Arsenal midfielder confirms he is set to leave club this summer

Arsenal midfielder confirms he is set to leave club this summer
© Reuters
Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga confirms that his agent is working to find him a new club in the summer transfer window.

An out-of-favour Arsenal midfielder has confirmed that his agent is working on finding him a new club in the summer transfer window.

Having made a name for himself under Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht, Albert Sambi Lokonga was regarded as a major coup when he joined the Gunners as a 21-year-old in the summer of 2021.

Arsenal forked out a total of €17.5m (£14.9m) to bring Lokonga to the Premier League, and the Belgium international formerly enjoyed regular game time in Mikel Arteta's starting XI.

However, Lokonga quickly fell out of favour in North London and was loaned out to Luton Town for the 2023-24 campaign, but he was unable to help the Hatters stay in the Premier League.

The 24-year-old did put in several good shifts in the Luton midfield alongside the rejuvenated Ross Barkley, scoring one goal and setting up three more in 17 games, but Rob Edwards's men still went down to the second tier at the first time of asking.

Luton Town's Albert Sambi Lokonga during the warm up before the match on September 16, 2023© Reuters

Lokonga: 'The best thing for me is to leave'

Luton did not possess the option to sign the midfielder permanently, meaning that he will be back at the Emirates for the pre-season period, but he seemingly does not have a future under Arteta at the Emirates.

Lokonga is only under contract at Arsenal until 2025 with the option of a further 12 months, and speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio, the Belgian confirmed that all parties are working on his North London exit.

"For me, I had a discussion with Arsenal and the conclusion was the best thing for me was to leave the club," the former Anderlecht man said, as quoted by Metro.

"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."

Luton are believed to be especially keen on reuniting with Lokonga, who has failed to muster a single goal or assist in 39 games in an Arsenal shirt, but their relegation to the Championship could scupper their hopes of a permanent move.

Why has it not worked out for Lokonga at Arsenal?

Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga pictured in July 2022© Reuters

Some Gooners may remember Lokonga's first pre-season with Arsenal, where the Belgium international was heralded as a terrific all-action midfielder and potentially the man to replace Granit Xhaka, whom the Emirates jury was still out on.

Lokonga briefly formed a useful partnership with Thomas Partey in the Arsenal engine room, but Arteta was simply not willing to give up on Xhaka, and Lokonga never truly found his ideal position in North London.

As Xhaka and Partey made themselves undroppable in the first half of the 2022-23 season, Lokonga was restricted to cup and Europa League starts and cameo roles in the Premier League, but he failed to justify his selections almost every time.

Working under Patrick Vieira at Crystal Palace briefly revived Lokonga's career before he was deemed surplus to requirements by Roy Hodgson, although his stellar Luton displays showed that the midfielder is worthy of Premier League football.

However, with Jorginho staying on, Thomas Partey potentially seeing out his deal and a new number six set to arrive this summer, there is simply no space for Lokonga, who has just not lived up to his potential at Arsenal.

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