Burnley have agreed deals to sign two midfielders in the past few days, and this could indicate that they may no longer continue to pursue Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.
Arsenal and Burnley were close to agreeing a deal within the last few weeks which would have seen the Belgium international head to Turf Moor on an initial loan, but with Vincent Kompany’s side now splashing out £12m on Sander Berge and £14m on Aaron Ramsey from Sheffield United and Aston Villa, this deal may no longer be in the works.
The 24-year-old is highly rated by Kompany, who managed him at Anderlecht but is set to leave Arsenal after struggling for a first-team spot.
After an initially bright start, Sambi struggled for form, and could not provide adequate cover for Thomas Partey as a defensive midfielder, whilst the quality in the Arsenal squad now means he will not gain game time as a more advanced option.
A loan to Burnley may have seen an option to buy included, with his long-term future at Arsenal very much doubtful, and he could have found his form and confidence under Kompany.
However, the newly promoted side spending a combined £26m on two central midfielders does not spell good news for Lokonga. Even if a deal does go ahead, he will now have stiff competition for a starting spot in the Burnley midfield.
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Lokonga needs to leave
If the proposed move to Burnley does collapse, then Arsenal and Lokonga need to find a solution in the final few weeks of the window.
It is clear that he needs to depart, at least on loan, as game time will be severely limited for him if he remains in the squad.
Declan Rice, Thomas Partey, Jorginho, Mohamed Elneny, Kai Havertz, Emile Smith Rowe, Martin Odegaard and Fabio Vieira are all ahead of him in the pecking order across the three midfield positions, and if he stays, it is unlikely that he will even make the matchday squad for the majority of games this season.
A loan will give him the chance to prove his quality at Premier League level, and possibly earn a permanent move, whilst a year in the reserves will only be of detriment to his career.