Arsenal confirmed the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga on Monday, but the news of his arrival won’t be welcomed by everybody.
One teammate who could be directly affected by Lokonga’s signing is Joe Willock, as the two play in the same position.
Willock has struggled for first-team football in the last 12 months, but Mikel Arteta has the midfielder in his pre-season plans this summer, so things are unclear.
The 21-year-old has made 78 appearances in all competitions since rising through the youth ranks to Arsenal’s first-team, scoring 11 goals with four assists.
However, his last outing for the Gunners came in 2020, as he fell down the pecking order and was loaned out to Newcastle United.
Willock impressed at St James’ Park and turned things around in his half-season stint, which has opened the door for him to stay at Arsenal.
But Newcastle are still trying to re-sign him and Lokonga could be a regular after impressing at Anderlecht, so game time might be hard to come by for Willock.
Last season, Lokonga had a hand in five goals, created 31 chances, had 31/40 successful dribbles, won 38 aerial duels and blocked 30 shots/crosses/passes.
He also made 36 clearances, was fouled 98 times and averaged a tackle (53) or interception (59) every 26 minutes from 33 league games at Anderlecht.
He’s an excellent midfielder and one that would improve Arsenal’s squad this campaign, so could Willock be on the chopping block as a result and possibly be heading to Newcastle again? Time will tell.
Stats from Transfermarkt and WhoScored.