Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has been forced to withdraw from the club’s pre-season tour in Germany due to a muscular injury.
The 23-year-old Belgian, who spent the latter half of last season on loan at Crystal Palace, had not traveled with his teammates for the tour.
Lokonga’s future at Arsenal remains uncertain, with rumors suggesting a possible permanent departure from the club.
Burnley, managed by Vincent Kompany, has shown interest in acquiring the young midfielder’s services. Lokonga’s lack of playing time under Mikel Arteta has contributed to his potential departure, as the club aims to generate funds for new signings.
The imminent arrival of Declan Rice from West Ham United further threatens Lokonga’s prospects at the London club.
Arsenal has reportedly agreed to a £105 million deal for the England international, who has already completed his medical examinations and media obligations ahead of his official announcement as an Arsenal player. Rice’s addition will further push Lokonga down the pecking order, especially following Granit Xhaka’s recent £21.5 million move to Bayer Leverkusen.
Taking to Instagram, Lokonga clarified his absence from the tour, explaining that the injury prevented him from participating. Alongside a picture of himself on a stationary bike, he wrote, “Due to a muscular injury, I’ll sadly not be part of the summer camp with the team in Germany. I’m focused now on my recovery to prepare for the season and be ready to help the team at my fullest capacity.”
In a recent interview with YouTube channel Wonhee Hyung, Lokonga expressed his desire to find regular playing time.
“I will try to go somewhere where I can play so that’s the most important thing for me – to have some games and play game after game.”
Since joining Arsenal in the summer of 2021 from Anderlecht, Lokonga has struggled to secure regular first-team opportunities. Last season, he completed the campaign on loan at Crystal Palace, where his performances failed to convince the club to make the move permanent.
There is growing speculation that Lokonga could reunite with his former manager, Vincent Kompany, at Burnley. The pair previously worked together at Anderlecht, and Kompany has spoken highly of the young midfielder, even comparing him to Manchester City legend Yaya Toure.
Despite not living up to the high praise from Kompany during his time at Arsenal, Lokonga remains unfazed by the prospect of a move away from the club if it guarantees more playing time. The midfielder’s career may receive a much-needed boost elsewhere as he aims to reignite his potential and fulfill the early promise he showed at Anderlecht.