Arsenal star 'confirms' summer exit as Edu eyes £17m transfer windfall

Albert Sambi Lokonga has suggested he could leave Arsenal permanently this summer after holding talks about his future.

The 24-year-old Belgian midfielder's stint with Luton Town during the 2023/24 season on loan didn't stop the Hatters from being relegated to the Championship, despite his regular appearances. Having had a previous loan spell at Crystal Palace, Lokonga has found it challenging to secure a consistent spot in the Arsenal squad since his transfer from Anderlecht in 2021.

As he prepares to return to the Emirates Stadium, Lokonga has revealed he and his agent have already held meetings with club chiefs regarding his future. Speaking to BBC Three Counties Radio, via Luton Today, Lokonga said: "For me, I had a discussion with Arsenal and the conclusion was the best thing for me was to leave the club, so now it's up to my agent and the club to find something. I still have a contract there, one year plus a one-year option so let's see what happens."

Lokonga's time at Arsenal hasn't quite lived up to expectations, despite the initial excitement surrounding his £17million move from Anderlecht, where he had made a significant impact and earned praise from former head coach Vincent Kompany, who likened him to Yaya Toure, reports the Mirror.

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Kompany, speaking on Rio Ferdinand's FIVE YouTube channel in 2021, shared that he had tipped off both Mikel Arteta and Pep Guardiola about Lokonga's talent. He revealed: "The first thing I did when I saw Sambi is I went to Mikel [Arteta] and also Pep [Guardiola], but Mikel first and said, 'You got to watch this guy, he's the new Yaya Toure.' I'm not sure I'm doing him a favour saying this stuff.

“Look, you know what I like about Sambi, what Yaya did have, is, he wants the ball no matter what. If the team is not doing well, give the ball to Sambi. Team doing well? Give the ball to Sambi. He will never hide away from his responsibilities.”

According to transfermarkt, Lokonga is currently worth around £12.7million, although it's likely Edu will want to recoup as much of the £17million paid for the Belgian in 2021 as possible.