Burnley ‘leading race for Arsenal’s Albert Sambi Lokonga’
Burnley have reportedly emerged as favourites to sign Arsenal‘s Albert Sambi Lokonga this summer, with the Clarets looking to bolster their midfield ranks ahead of the new season.
Since the 23-year-old’s £18m move to the Emirates from Belgian outfit Anderlecht in the summer of 2021, the midfielder has featured 39 times for the Gunners, struggling to become a consistent starter.
Mikel Arteta allowed Lokonga to go out on loan to Crystal Palace in January to search for regular first-team minutes, however he only managed to make nine appearances for the Eagles.
A lack of club gametime has seen the Belgium international miss out on call-ups for his national side in recent times, with former Belgian Red Devils boss Roberto Martinez deciding to leave the Arsenal man out of his squad for the 2022 World Cup.
According to the Evening Standard, newly-promoted Burnley are in pole position to secure the services of Lokonga this summer, ending his two-year stay in North London.
It is understood that the timescale of any potential transfer is yet to be confirmed, meaning the midfielder could be moving to Turf Moor either temporarily or on a permanent deal.
Clarets boss Vincent Kompany is said to be a huge admirer of Lokonga – who he managed whilst at Anderlecht – and believes he would be able to provide top-flight experience to a club who have tended to recruit from around Europe in this window.
Out of Burnley’s nine summer signings to date, only former Southampton winger Nathan Redmond has featured extensively in the Premier League, and the arrival of more top-flight knowhow would be greatly appreciated by the Turf Moor faithful.
The Championship winners have already strengthened in midfield with the capture of Zeki Amdouni from Swiss side Basel, however the Clarets are yet to bring in a more defensive-minded option to their engine room.
Josh Cullen and Josh Brownhill formed an impressive partnership in the middle of the park for Kompany’s side as they cantered to the second-tier crown last term, finishing the campaign on 101 points, 21 ahead of third-placed Luton Town.
Burnley are also looking to recruit Southampton attacker Nathan Tella on a permanent deal, after the Englishman spent the 2022-23 campaign on loan at Turf Moor from the South Coast.
The Saints winger scored 17 goals and provided five assists for the Clarets in 39 Championship appearances last term, and Kompany believes the 24-year-old is more than ready to make the step up to the Premier League.
Following victory over Benfica and a draw with Spanish side Real Betis, Burnley travel to Germany on Saturday to face Bundesliga outfit Mainz in their final pre-season match.
Kompany will pit his wits against his former employers on the first night of the Premier League term, as Pep Guardiola‘s Manchester City travel to Lancashire on August 11.