Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga is reportedly nearing a loan transfer to Burnley, with the Belgian not in Mikel Arteta’s plans for next season.
The 23-year-old spent the second half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace, where he initially started brightly but found his form falling after the departure of Patrick Vieira.
Lokonga joined Arsenal for around £17m from Anderlecht in 2021, and looks set to be reunited with old boss Vincent Kompany.
The Mirror have reported that talks are expected to take place in the week ahead, with the expectation that Lokonga joins Burnley on a season-long loan. It is currently unclear whether this would include an option or an obligation to buy the player.
Should Arsenal sell Lokonga permanently?
The Belgium international showed signs of promise in his 39 appearances but struggled to replicate the physical intensity brought to the midfield by Granit Xhaka or Thomas Partey when covering for one of the two players in the middle of the park.
When Arsenal were beaten at Manchester United last season, Lokonga was particularly exposed as he stepped in whilst Partey was injured. The signings of Jorginho and Declan Rice have since indicated a lack of faith in the player from Arteta.
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Even if he does perform well on loan at Burnely, it seems unlikely that he will be able to break into the Arsenal midfield given the strength in depth the Gunners now have. A permanent sale could see the club recoup a significant amount of the fee they paid for him, whilst Lokonga can embark on a new chapter elsewhere.
Although a reasonable passer of the ball, his lack of strength and his languid style means he cannot play in a defensive midfield role, and his creative skills are nowhere near the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard.
There currently seems to be no role suitable to him, and Arsenal becoming a title-challenging side means that there is no room for a developmental player like Lokonga in the squad.