The teams dominant over long periods of time tend to have a common factor. That feature is squad depth. Having a balance of ready made established personnel performing week in week out and young exciting talent with potential for the future suggests long term thinking as well as sustainable success. Signings like Albert Sambi Lokonga are an example of the latter, and is an example of why Manchester City target the youngster.
The Anderlecht midfielder has shown promise in the Belgian First Division since making his debut in 2017/18. Despite not having made many appearances, the handful of performances he has had, have attracted flattering interest. A testament to how well he has taken his limited chances.
According to MARCA, Barcelona, Manchester City and Sevilla are all keeping tabs on the Belgian. What makes Lokonga’s signature so desirable for Europe’s top clubs is his current contract situation.
His deal with the 2016/17 champions expires next summer. This means clubs could speak to him and get him for free. Alternatively, a cheap deal could be struck in January for the exciting prospect to get him immediately. MARCA suggest 5 million Euros.
So why are Europe’s elite after the Anderlecht youth product? We’ll explain:
This video gives a glimpse of what Lokonga is capable of. Breaking up play, transitioning defence to attack, protecting the back 4. Essentially what every manager wants from their player sitting in the middle of the pitch.
The 5ft 8in midfielder is showing signs of being an effective defensive minded player. He is shown intercepting the ball various times in the video to stop an attack or begin his team’s own.
Alongside this, he looks to be good on the ball, enabling him to transition quickly into attack via coming out from deep in midfield or making an intelligent pass. This quality alone makes sense for both Barcelona and Pep Guardiola. Lokonga’s positional sense is also good in the video, suggesting he reads the game well.
There is a lack of compilations on YouTube showcasing his full potential, but this video does a decent job. He’ll only get better as time goes by and the early signs are good.
Furthermore, the risk will not be high with his acquisition. The figures being thrown around aren’t exactly breaking the bank, whilst a free transfer bears no financial risk whatsoever. This could be a shrewd signing if one of the 3 teams above can get the midfielder and may go under the radar. Definitely worth watching this space!
For more articles about the beautiful game, follow us on Twitter @TasteofFtbl