Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has now shared what he considers to be the ‘most important thing’ amid Burnley showing interest in sealing the Belgian’s transfer.
The 23-year-old has returned to Emirates Stadium this summer following a mixed loan spell at Crystal Palace. Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira signed Lokonga in January to bolster his side. But the midfielder later fell out of favour as soon as Roy Hodgson took over the Eagles’ helm.
Vieira offered Arsenal a very beneficial connection as the Frenchman would unleash Lokonga in all six of their matches together. He even started the one-cap international in five Premier League fixtures before Crystal Palace fired the Frenchman and re-hired Hodgson in March.
Lokonga endured a mixed loan transfer to Crystal Palace
Hodgson would only go on to play Lokonga twice and started him just once from 10 possible Premier League fixtures. The Belgian played a total of 70 minutes under Hodgson compared to the 466 he enjoyed under Vieira. So, Crystal Palace did not pursue a permanent transfer.
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Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta had granted Lokonga permission to join Crystal Palace in January to secure more regular minutes. The Spaniard had only fielded him six times over 18 Premier League fixtures for 195 minutes. Lokonga had also not played in the top-flight since October.
Cup competitions made up a majority of Lokonga’s minutes for Arsenal in 2022/23, with 478 of his 859 coming in the Europa League. He started in all six of the Gunners’ Group A games, whilst opening one of his two FA Cup appearances and the Gunners’ only Carabao Cup tie.
Burnley are targeting his summer transfer from Arsenal
Now, Lokonga has returned to Arsenal but may not stay at the Emirates as Burnley target his transfer. The Sun reported over the weekend that the Gunners are actively trying to sell the midfielder to the Turf Moor side. The Clarets would also like to buy the Verviers-born talent.
The transfer to Burnley would reunite Lokonga with Vincent Kompany, who was the manager of RSC Anderlecht when Arsenal signed him. The Gunners paid the Belgian club £15m, rising to £17m after add-ons, in July 2021. While Lokonga signed a contract running to June 2026.
It is increasingly unlikely that Lokonga will see out his contract, though, as Arsenal work on a transfer with Burnley. While the midfielder has also now hinted at looking at a move away in the summer sales. He has also stated what the most important aspect for a switch is for him.
“I don’t know [what will happen],” Lokonga told Korean YouTuber Wonhee Hyung. “I will try to go somewhere where I can play. That’s the most important thing for me. To try to play some games and to play game after game.”