Unsurprisingly, Burnley are already beginning to be linked with a number of new signings ahead of their return to the Premier League next season, with Arsenal’s Albert Sambi Lokonga reportedly on Vincent Kompany’s shortlist.
Could Burnley sign Sambi Lokonga?
According to The Sun, the 23-year-old is considered surplus to requirements at Arsenal after failing to make the grade in Mikel Arteta’s squad, with the Belgian loaned out to Crystal Palace in January.
The report suggests that the young midfielder, who joined in a £17m deal, isn’t wanted by Palace permanently and could be allowed to leave the Emirates for just £15m, which could represent a bargain for Kompany as he looks to improve upon his midfield options following the Championship title win.
Would Lokonga be a good signing for Burnley?
Lokonga is well-known to Kompany having come through the ranks at Anderlecht during the 37-year-old’s time managing in Belgium, and he would sing his praises on Rio Ferdinand’s Vibe with Five YouTube channel.
“You’ve got to watch this guy, he’s the new Yaya Toure,” he said.
“The point is you need players who are not afraid to have the ball when the going gets tough. As a centre-back, your job stops at a certain point on the ball. And you need to be able to give it to people who see the next pass, see the next move, take responsibility, take people on and put that tempo in when there’s no tempo in the game anymore.
“For me, that’s what Sambi has that makes him special.”
While Lokonga hasn’t set the world alight since signing for Arsenal, or indeed on loan at Selhurst Park, with no goals or assists across 48 appearances for both sides, Kompany clearly appreciates his ability on the ball, and in a possession-heavy Burnley side, he could be a big success.
Josh Brownhill and another familiar name from Anderlecht in Josh Cullen were two of the top performers at Turf Moor this season, according to WhoScored, ranking first and seventh respectively, but reinforcements will be necessary if Kompany’s side are going to continue their upwards trajectory in the top flight.
WhoScored suggests that the Arsenal man excels at passing and FBref also backs this up, ranking him in the top 3% of players for pass completion per 90 when compared with other midfielders across Europe’s top five divisions.
In many ways, Lokonga could be the perfect signing for Burnley this summer as he is available for relatively cheap, has good Premier League experience despite his age and evidently suits Kompany’s style of play, so the Clarets should definitely be looking at bringing him to Turf Moor.