Premier League • England

Fabrizio Romano tips Arsenal to offload star they ‘trust’ as Arteta brutally sanctions double exit

Bukayo Saka and Albert Sambi Lokonga

Arsenal still ‘trust’ the potential of midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga, even after an underwhelming loan spell at Crystal Palace this season. 

However, the Gunners could loan the 23-year-old out again this summer, given he is unlikely to break into Mikel Arteta’s starting XI next term.

Lokonga has always been touted to become a top player in the future, so it will be interesting to see who, if anyone, comes in for him.

According to Fabrizio Romano, Arsenal still rate the midfielder. However, they will most likely loan him out again ahead of next season.

Writing for CaughtOffsidehe said: “It’s not been an easy loan spell at Crystal Palace for Lokonga.

“Still, Arsenal trust his skills and his potential, but they want him to play.

“He needs to play. It’s possible they will discuss one more loan season, but this is something they will clarify with the player and agent in June and not now.”

Since joining Crystal Palace in January, Lokonga has featured 14 times in the Premier League. Although, he has only played 90 minutes on three occasions.

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Arteta could offload Lokonga and Balogun

Given Lokonga can’t get himself into the Crystal Palace starting XI, it seems very unlikely he would be in Arteta’s plans next season.

The Gunners have had an unbelievable campaign, currently sitting top of the Premier League table. Although, a 4-1 defeat to Manchester City on Wednesday may have derailed their title hopes.

Nevertheless, the likes of Martin Odegaard, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have been key to their success, so another loan spell for Lokonga next term would make sense.

Interestingly, Lokonga may not be the only loanee that Arteta offloads this summer.

Folarin Balogun, who is currently on loan with French side Reims, has been in unbelievable form.

So far, the striker has scored 18 goals in 31 Ligue 1 appearances. He trails only Alexandre Lacazette, Jonathan David and Kylian Mbappe in the scoring charts.

However, despite the 21-year-old’s clear ability, he, like Lokonga, isn’t in Arteta’s plans for next season.

Unlike Lokonga, though, he has reportedly refused to be loaned out again, meaning a permanent departure from Arsenal is likely.

RB Leipzig are reportedly heavily interested in signing Balogun this summer, who is unlikely to pen a contract extension at the Emirates.

The striker’s current deal will expire in 2025. Now, it is believed a bid in the region of £25m could be enough to secure his services.

With that in mind, it seems highly unlikely Lokonga or Balogun will be playing at the Emirates next season.

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