Reported Arsenal target Sambi Lokonga is a midfielder of huge potential and can reach the levels of Borussia Dortmund star Axel Witsel, Belgium manager Roberto Martinez told Sporza.
Now, if Arsenal are clever, they will turn their initial interest in Lokonga into something more serious before Euro 2020 gets underway on Friday.
Because while the latest fresh-faced starlet to rise through the ranks at Anderlecht is valued at £15 million now – a fee that means he is well within the Gunners’ reach – a couple of stand-out performances on the biggest stage of all could see Lokonga’s price-tag double or triple in the space of a month.
As it stands, the Brussels-born 21-year-old is on Belgium’s stand-by list.
But if Witsel cannot recover from injury in time for the tournament – he hasn’t played a game since January due to a serious Achilles tendon problem – then Lokonga will be thrown in at the deep end and given a place in Martinez’s 26-man roster.
“Lokonga’s potential for the future of Belgian football is at the level of Axel Witsel. Those are big words, but that’s his potential.”
According to Voetbal 24, Arsenal legend Thierry Henry – who will form part of Martinez’s coaching staff during Euro 2020 – is encouraging his old employers to make a move for Lokonga.
Not only is he a hugely promising young midfielder who has made great progress in his work without the ball of late, the fact that Lokonga captains one of Belgium’s biggest clubs at the age of 21 speaks volumes about his attitude as well as his ability.