Out-of-favour Arsenal star set to seal Premier League move as Arteta evaluates midfield options

Ben Stewart
Manchester City's Rodri (left) and Arsenal's Albert Sambi Lokonga battle for the ball during the Emirates FA Cup fourth round match at Etihad Stadium, Manchester. Picture date: Friday January 27, 2023.

Crystal Palace are closing in on a loan deal for Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga as Mikel Arteta considers his midfield options.

Lokonga has only featured for Arsenal sparingly throughout the season. In the Premier League he has played a total of 196 minutes across six appearances.

The 23-year-old has not been able to displace Thomas Partey or Granit Xhaka who have been in tremendous form throughout the season.

Lokonga has started in all six of Arsenal’s Europa League matches. However, a loan move could be his best chance of getting regular first-team football.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Crystal Palace are closing in on a deal as a medical is now set to take place. A loan move may well be the best for both the player and club.

Lokonga’s limited game time would likely be impacted by the arrival of Jorginho and Crystal Palace are in need of more depth in the middle.

The Belgian midfielder joined Arsenal in the summer of 2021 for a fee of around £17million. In total, he has made 39 appearances for the Gunners, but is yet to score or assist a goal.

A fresh challenge outside of Arsenal could benefit his development and it would give Arteta the chance to evaluate him in a different environment.

Arsenal’s midfield options 

Midfield has been a strength of Arteta’s side this season as the Gunners have regularly dominated the ball. In the Premier League they have averaged 57.1% possession.

Jorginho will certainly add some experience and technical ability to their current options. With Arsenal five points clear at the top, the addition of Jorginho could prove to be vital.

Arsenal were relieved to hear that Partey didn’t sustain a serious injury against Manchester City. The midfielder was forced off but is expected to be back in time for their next fixture.

As things stand, the Gunners are currently projected to pick up 100 points this season. Arteta’s side have only lost one match and they are in a strong position as things stand.

With the Europa League soon set to return, Arteta will be looking to lean on his squad more than ever. During February, Arsenal will have five league matches to play.

Arteta has been fairly consistent when selecting his starting 11 this season. For example, seven players have started in all 19 Premier League matches for the Gunners so far.

Next up for Arteta’s side is an away trip to Goodison Park. Arsenal will be looking to extend their unbeaten run which currently stands at 13 matches.

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