According to The Daily Mail, Arsenal received an offer from French side AS Monaco yesterday to sign Albert Sambi Lokonga on loan for the remainder of the season.
The Belgian joined the Gunners from Anderlecht before the start of the last campaign. He was recommended to Mikel Arteta by Vincent Kompany, who described the midfielder as the ‘new Yaya Toure’.
Monaco, who are fourth in Ligue 1, are keen to sign him now.
Albert Sambi Lokonga started nine of Arsenal’s first 13 Premier League games last season and he impressed.
The Belgian, branded as a ‘supremely gifted’ player by Kevin Campbell, is good on the ball, can pick a pass and has the ability to drive into the opposition third with possession. Many fans expected him to be the next big thing at the Emirates, but he started just three times in the league in the second half of the campaign.
Game time has been hard to come by for Lokonga in this season too, having played less than 200 minutes of football in the Premier League. He hasn’t played a minute in the league since the start of October, which is not ideal at all.
That gave rise to rumours that he could leave Arsenal this month, and Monaco have reportedly tried their luck by lodging an offer to sign him on loan until the end of the season.
Arteta, however, did not entertain that. The bid was rejected and Lokonga is now set to stay at the club at least until the summer transfer window.
Lokonga, who joined Arsenal 18 months ago, still has three-and-a-half years left on his contract.
Arsenal have suffered a blow with Mohamed Elneny suffering a knee injury.
Arteta did not give a time frame for his return, but he suggested in his press conference yesterday that the Gunners could dive into the market for a new midfielder before the window shuts on Tuesday.
That means Arsenal are short of options in the middle of the park. That explains why Arteta is not keen on letting Lokonga leave the club this month, even though he has barely played this season.
In the summer transfer window, however, things could change. There’s a good chance Lokonga will be allowed to move on, especially if Arsenal go and sign someone like Declan Rice, who is apparently their priority target.