Arsenal were able to sell a number of fringe players in the summer transfer window including Lucas Torreira and Bernd Leno, but Albert Sambi Lokonga admitted his situation is ‘difficult’.
Arsenal star Albert Sambi Lokonga has opened up on his ‘difficult’ situation at the Emirates Stadium admitting he ‘nearly snapped’ under Mikel Arteta last season.
The Belgium midfielder has played just 459 minutes of football so far this season, mainly in the Europa League when Arteta has opted to rotate his squad in the midst of a packed fixture schedule.
The 22-year-old was linked with a move away to AC Milan during the summer transfer window but opted to stay in north London and fight for his place in the Arsenal starting lineup.
Granit Xhaka’s impressive form along with a switch in formation that has seen Martin Odegaard drop into a deeper role alongside Thomas Partey has meant that Lokonga’s opportunities have been limited under Arteta.
The young midfielder has started just two games in the Premier League so far this season when Partey and Mohamed Elneny picked up muscle injuries back in August.
The Gunners were keen on adding a new central midfielder to Arteta’s squad in the summer transfer window but failed to get a deal for Aston Villa star Douglas Luiz over the line after having three Deadline Day bids rebuffed. Lokonga has now has revealed, via the Metro, that he “nearly snapped” towards the end of last season as he was frustrated with his lack of playing time under Arteta and seriously considered his future at the Emirates Stadium.
“Honestly, it’s difficult. I’m at one of the best clubs in England. I could have played somewhere else every weekend, but that wouldn’t have been the right solution for me,” said Lokonga.
“I develop better with 20 minutes of playing time at Arsenal than always playing elsewhere but always winning with 3-0 or 4-0. It’s a personal decision to stay at Arsenal.
“I wanted to give myself another year to stay at Arsenal and then see what happens. I think I have the qualities to succeed here.
“Last season, I didn’t perform at my best level. I still have things to prove.”
Lokonga has opened up on his frustrations under Arteta which led him to consider his future in north London, but if his game time doesn’t increase throughout the season it could see the end of the Belgium midfielder’s time with the Gunners.
Lokonga added: “At the end of last season, I almost snapped. I called my agent to ask him if staying at Arsenal was a good idea. He comforted me in my choice, even though I know I need to start more often to develop.”