JUST IN: On-loan Arsenal midfielder set to make his debut for Luton Town against Fulham

Belgian international available for selection at Craven Cottage.

new Luton signing Albert Sambi Lokonga could be in line for his Town debut at Fulham this weekend as the Hatters go in search of their first Premier League points of the season.

The 23-year-old arrived late on transfer deadline day, joining on a season-long loan deal from Arsenal, and was in the stands to watch his new team edged out 2-1 by West Ham United.

With the international break giving Lokonga a fortnight to train at the Brache and get to know his new team-mates, it means he has now definitely forced his way into manager Rob Edwards’ thinking for the trip to Craven Cottage on Saturday.

He said: “Sambi will be in and amongst it, he’s ready and available for selection.

“We’re delighted to get him over the line, really, really pleased.

“He’s a very good footballer and he’s trained very well over this last couple of weeks.

“He gives us some different options.

“He can play as an eight, certainly, he can play deeper as well and offer a little bit of different balance in that midfield area.

“He’s someone who is very comfortable on the ball and can give us maybe a little more control at times, but he’s another option and real competition in that midfield slot.

 

“I said it when we brought him in, Marv (Nakamba) is really alone in that position as a holding midfield player.

 

“Sambi is someone who can do that role as well and operate higher, so I think it was a really good acquisition for us.

“He’s been training very well at Arsenal and he’s had two full weeks with us as well, he’s available for selection, certainly.”

There is every chance the Belgian international, who cost the Gunners around £15m when signing for Anderlecht in July 2021, could play alongside another summer addition in Marvelous Nakamba to give the Town midfield that bit more steel and also add some extra protection to the back five, particularly away from home during Town’s top flight campaign.

 

Edwards has spoken previously about using the duo as a double pivot and on whether that is his plan on a regular basis going forward, he continued.

We can do that, he gives us a little bit more flexibility, in-game changes, whether it’s tweaks to the shape, so we can do that.

“I do like him being able to play as an eight, and progress and play higher up as well, but he gives us the option to be able to do a bit of both.

“Hopefully we’re not, but if we’re missing Marv as well, he’s someone that can play on their own if needed.

“I think it was important to be able to get someone like that who had the flexibility to play in all those positions and because he’s an intelligent footballer who’s very good technically, he can do that.

 

“But if there’s a certain game where we might need to change it up a little bit, that’s in-game, he gives us the chance to be able to do that, maybe a little bit more so than one or two of our midfielders who like to be thinking forward first.

Arsenal 'in talks with AC Milan over shock Albert Sambi Lokonga transfer'  with star down midfield pecking order | The US Sun

 

 

 

He can give you a bit more control as he’s a real technical footballer, who wants to get on the ball.

“He’ll be brave, he can do that from higher up, he can do that from deeper, but I’d like to think he can give us a little bit of that link and a little bit of that control.”

Having played 25 times for Arsenal in the top flight and making nine appearances while on loan at Crystal Palace last term, Lokonga is already fourth highest in terms of Premier League games played at Kenilworth Road behind Ross Barkley, Tim Krul and Nakamba.

 

He has also featured in the top flight of Belgian football and played in the Europa League for both Anderlecht and the Gunners, which is something Edwards hopes Luton can benefit from, adding: “He’s got good experience throughout his career so far, abroad, or here in the Premier League.

 

“So it’s another one we’ve managed to bring in who has experienced this level.

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