Albert Sambi Lokonga isn’t worried about his gametime this season and leaving Arsenal is out of the question, according to his brother.

Arsenal's Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga looks on during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary's Stadium in Southampton, southern England on April 16, 2022. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga looks on during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Arsenal at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on April 16, 2022. (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

One of Arsenal’s six summer signings, Albert Sambi Lokonga hasn’t featured quite as much as some of the others.

Only Nuno Tavares has played fewer minutes from that group than Lokonga, with Ben White, Aaron Ramsdale, and Martin Odegaard all featuring more than twice as often.

Takehiro Tomiyasu would be that far ahead as well if he’d stayed fit, as he’s been a starter when available.

But for a debut season in English football at his age, 23 appearances isn’t so bad. Central midfield is also a position where Arsenal arguably already had the most experience on the pitch, as all three of Lokonga’s competitors are 28 or older.

That’s certainly the view Lokonga’s brother, Paul-Jose M’Poku, is taking.

“We don’t worry,” M’Poku told Belgian outlet RTBF. “Other players like Kevin De Bruyne or Romelu Lukaku also took time to establish themselves in the English Premier League. The difference with the Belgian championship is big, and Arsenal is not a mid-ranking club.

“We would have signed with both hands for a first season with 33% of playing time. And Albert is progressing every day, especially due to training.

“The competition is tough in the team, with boys like Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, or Mohamed Elneny, and the coach has to respect a certain hierarchy.”

arsenal v watford premier league 10
LONDON, ENGLAND: Gabriel Martinelli and Albert Sambi Lokonga of Arsenal shake hands after the Premier League match between Arsenal and Watford at Emirates Stadium on November 07, 2021. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

As for the prospect of an early departure from North London, M’Poku was emphatically against the notion.

“It’s out of the question, at least for him,” Lokonga’s brother responded. “He is very well integrated at the club and in the city, he is happy, even if he hopes to play more next season, and his potential would deserve it.

“And there will be European games. I spoke to him on the phone on Monday, he was disappointed because, with the defeat at Newcastle, the Champions League has moved away. But there will be the Europa League and he is positive about his season.”

It’s true that Lokonga is one of the players for whom the likely Europa League qualification isn’t the end of the world.

The Belgian international is more likely to start in the competition, getting him into the groove for if and when Arsenal do make it back to the big time.

It’s the experienced midfielders who will be more worried about another year without Champions League football.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.