Albert Sambi Lokonga says he is not scared of competition as Arsenal target Youri Tielemans (Getty)
Albert Sambi Lokonga insists he is not scared of competition following Arsenal’s push to sign Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans this summer.
Lokonga joined Arsenal in a £17.2 million deal from Anderlecht last year and made 24 appearances in his debut campaign with Mikel Arteta’s side.
The 22-year-old barely featured for the Gunners in the second half of last season, while it’s understood that Arteta is keen to recruit a new central midfielder before the transfer window closes.
Tielemans is on Arsenal’s shortlist although the Gunners are yet to submit an offer to Leicester City for the Belgium international.
When asked about Arsenal being linked with signing a new midfielder, Lokonga told the Counter Attack Podcast: ‘I try to not pay attention to all of that stuff.
‘When you play for a big club, people have expectations, ‘yeah, you need to buy this player’, or, ‘this player is rubbish’, for me I just focus on myself and focus on my job.
Leicester City are demanding a £30m fee for Youri Tielemans (Getty)
‘If I was scared of competition I would not have chosen Arsenal.
‘Coming here I knew there would be competition, at my previous club there was competition as well so it’s part of football. I think competition can make you better.’
When asked why he struggled for playing time in the second half of last season, Lokonga replied: ‘I think in every situation in life you need to learn from it and I think I learned from the past situation.
‘Let me tell you something, when I signed for Arsenal people told me, ‘you will never play there, you will go on loan’, so now people are telling me, ‘you didn’t play enough’, so people will always talk, they want more, I’m just doing my job, if you’re not happy it’s your problem, if I’m happy, I’m happy.
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‘I mean in general, people are always talking, if you get something they will say, ‘he couldn’t get much or it’s too much for him’, so people always give their opinion.
When I came here people need to remember people were telling me, ‘you’re not going to play, go on loan’, and I played how many games? 24. What do I need to tell these people, just focus.
Asked if he expected to play as much as he did in his first season at Arsenal, Lokonga replied: ‘No, to play that much, no.
‘When I had a conversation with the coach he told me we will see, first season you need to adapt, new culture, new country, new vision of football, I didn’t expect to play that much.’
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