Vieira reveals how Edu used Chelsea star to talk Palace into surprise move to sign Arsenal man
Crystal Palace were talked into the deadline day signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga after a convincing sales pitch from Arsenal sporting director Edu, the Gunners legend has revealed.
The Belgium midfielder moved to Emirates Stadium in summer 2021 but has found life quite tough since signing up. He made 24 appearances in all competitions last season and has made a further 15 this. But with Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka untouchable in central midfield, he has only two Premier League starts.
There are suggestions that Gunners boss Mikel Arteta does not quite trust Lokonga to play when the opportunity arises. Their ultimately-unsuccessful quest to sign Moices Caicedo during January points a strong indictation towards that.
While they failed with a £70m offer for the Ecuadorian, Arsenal are reportedly planning two blockbuster midfield moves this summer.
And with Jorginho also arriving in a £12m deal from Chelsea, that suggests Lokonga faces an increasingly tough future with Arsenal.
And his deadline day move on loan to Crystal Palace offers further suggestions that Arsenal can manage without.
However, according to Vieira, Edu appears to rate Lokonga very highly.
And the Crystal Palace manager insists the Arsenal sporting director’s convincing sales pitch convinced him to make the signing.
“I spoke with Edu and he really gave me the full picture of the player in terms of his character both on and off the field,” he said.
“We always want to know what kind of players we are signing. Now we also know what side of the game he needs to improve.
“We’re talking about experience with Sambi in the sense that he knows the Premier League.”
Vieira excited to sign Lokonga from Arsenal
The Arsenal legend continued: “He’s got tactical and technical ability to improve our playing and I still believe there is more to come from him. He’s capable of running in behind and getting in the box – his mobility and strength will help us.
“What’s important for him is to play more games. We will give him that opportunity and of course he will have to work hard to get that space.
“But he believes it was the right decision for the next step of his career.” Referring to Conor Gallagher, who impressed on loan last season, Vieira added: “We will try and work closely with him to improve him like we did with other players we had on loan.”
Palace were reportedly considering a move to re-sign Gallagher from Chelsea on deadline day. However, Vieira insists that was never likely and led them, ultimately, moving to bring in Lokonga.
Addressing speculation about England squad star Gallagher, Vieira added: “He wasn’t available so it didn’t cross our mind. Conor was a player that did really well for us so we enjoyed having him in our football club,” Vieira explained.
“But there wasn’t any kind of chance for us to take him so the door was closed.”
Lokonga may make his Eagles debut on Saturday when they travel to Old Trafford to face in-form Manchester United.
READ MORE: Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham lock horns over deal to sign 65-goal Bundesliga striker available on a free
The article Vieira reveals how Edu used Chelsea star to talk Palace into surprise move to sign Arsenal man appeared first on Teamtalk.com.