Kevin Campbell thinks 22-year-old Arsenal player Albert Sambi Lokonga ‘isn’t where he should be’ in his development for Arsenal, as he told the Highbury Squad.
The former striker added that the 22-year-old isn’t developing because of his lack of minutes under Mikel Arteta.
Last summer, Arsenal secured Lokonga’s talents when they paid Belgian side Anderlecht £17 million for the highly-rated midfielder (BBC Sport).
Since he has been at the club, for most parts, Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka have occupied the defensive-minded midfield roles, with Martin Odegaard playing further forward.
When Lokonga was handed a chance last season in the Premier League, it mainly occurred when either the senior duo behind Odegaard were injured or suspended.
Once again, Partey’s injury has meant that Lokonga has started his side’s last three games, as Campbell was asked about the player’s development.
“He’s probably not where he needs to be in his development because he probably needs more game time,” said Campbell.
“He’s only played three games this season. If Partey’s fit, then he’s out of the team and he’s probably only going to get starts in the Europa League. So, Sambi isn’t probably where he (should be).
“Do you remember in the documentary where he was bleating about not playing and stuff? Then, Eddie (Nketiah) turned around and said ‘well, I am not playing, so you shut up and don’t moan’.
“But it’s because he wants to play. He’s a young man who is used to playing. Is he where he should be in his development? Probably not because he needs game time. I think he has done pretty well in that midfield area, considering he doesn’t play. He’s more progressive than Elneny.”
EUROPA LEAGUE CAN HELP EVLEVATE LOKONGA
Arsenal opened their account for the 2022/23 Europa League season by travelling to Switzerland and beating FC Zurich 2-1.
Lokonga played the entire game and he will be hoping to do so again on Thursday night when the Gunners host Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV side.
That’s his best bet, when everyone is fit, to fight his way into the main XI that is competing to secure a top-four finish in the Premier League.
Although, it also needs to be remembered that winning the Europa League would also secure a Champions League spot for next season, which Lokonga can play a key role in.