The rise of Sambi Lokonga in the Arsenal team has been a joy to experience over the course of the last couple of months.
Thrown into the fire in the opening three matches, the Belgian international, like most of the squad, has not allowed the defeats at the start of the campaign to dampen his determination to make his debut season at Arsenal a success.
Lokonga has been vital during the run of ten unbeaten games and has provided cover for an absent Thomas Partey when called upon. Even eclipsing the Ghanaian international in matches against both Brighton and Leicester City.
Mikel Arteta’s integration of so many young players into the team will not be going unnoticed. The youth team players will be encouraged that a route is open to anyone if they are good enough no matter their age.
Furthermore, possible transfer targets will also be attracted to the project Arsenal are aiming to build with such a focus on youth. Now Lokonga himself has since added to the lure by speaking proudly of his decision to join the club.
“Yes, it’s gone a bit quicker than anticipated, but I was well prepared physically, mentally and on a football level. I don’t want to say that I had the required qualities but apparently, they suit the manager,” Lokonga explained in an interview with RTBF.
“I’m fighting for my spot; I play games and I’m getting minutes. I’m very happy. I made the right choice, but I already knew that.
“The manager speaks to me a lot, I like that, but he doesn’t let me rest. I was told that he’d said that my integration and my performances impressed him. Good, but next year, he’ll see an even better Sambi.”
The words ‘I made the right choice’ will trickle throughout the footballing channels and players hearing such positive feedback are sure to look at Arsenal even more favourably.
The focus has been on bringing in young players like Lokonga in the transfer market. Six players arrived in the summer, all of whom were 23 years or younger in age and links to further signings are of a similar vein.
Tyler Adams, 22, from RB Leipzig is a player reportedly interesting the club for his ability to play in multiple positions. Dusan Vlahovic, 21, a coveted striker in the market at present was also touted to be targeted by Arsenal. Arsenal are reportedly interested in signing RB Leipzig star Tyler Adams. The American fits the age profile of players the Gunners are targeting plus the 22-year-old can play in a variety of roles.
The words of Lokonga, combined with the actions of Arsenal’s recruitment team, headed up by technical director Edu, will only aid in the club’s pursuit of its young targets.
Arsenal is going through an evolution and the rewards of that are clear with the performances and run of form over the last two months.
More is expected but tougher tests are approaching with a trip to Anfield set to provide the measuring stick for how far Arsenal have progressed since the 5-0 drubbing at the Etihad in August.
Lokonga along with plenty of his fellow young Arsenal stars will be present and critical if the Gunners want to leave Merseyside with any amount of points.
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