Albert Sambi Lokonga was signed to be an understudy to Thomas Partey ahead of this season, and he now has the perfect chance to showcase his abilities. His statistics this season already prove that he is capable of doing a solid job for the Gunners.
The Belgian is one of the most balanced midfielders at the age of 23 or under in Europe’s top five leagues. Specifically when it comes down to ball progression and winning the ball back for his team.
Partey to limped off with an injury during Arsenal’s defeat to Crystal Palace, Meaning Sambi Lokonga will play a crucial part in the Gunners’ Champions League qualification hopes ahead of next season, and statistics suggest that he will be capable of filling and providing what Mikel Arteta requires.
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Sambi Lokonga replaced Partey after he came off with the injury against Crystal Palace, and the youngster was certainly impressive. He bought a sense of calmness to the Arsenal team and his successful passes and breaking down of the play gave Arsenal breathing space, which they lacked throughout the first half and midway through in the second.
The Belgian is in the same category as highly-rated players such as Aurelien Tchouameni and AC Milan’s Sandro Tonali. Sambi Lokonga’s cameo against Crystal Palace highlighted that there is real potential in the youngster.
Sambi Lokonga has been inconsistent since his switch from Anderlecht in the summer in a deal worth around £15 million. But that is to be expected with his age and the fact that he has never played English football before this season.
Despite only being 21-years-old, he has displayed some excellent performances in the Premier League. The 1-0 victory against Norwich in September was a real highlight for the youngster after he recorded the most passes and the most tackles which demonstrated his dominance in the centre of midfield.
His impressive start to life in north London even earned him a call-up for the Belgian national side for the first time in his young career. He also received a call-up over the March international break which shows the talent he possesses is not just rated by those in north London.
Sambi Lokonga has been tasked with playing in the anchor role multiple times this season, and it is a position that he could nail down once he has fully adapted to the pace of the Premier league. Thomas Partey’s constant injury issues mean that the Belgian is gaining valuable experience this season.
The youngster will be crucial in the final weeks of the season if Arsenal are to achieve Champions League football for next season. He has shown that is one of the most balanced midfielders in Europe, who is yet to turn 23-years-old, and he must showcase this ability in the Premier League.