“I didn’t know he was so good”

Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has praised his team-mate William Saliba, claiming he is an intense defender.

Saliba, who joined the Gunners from Saint-Etienne in the summer of 2019 for £27million, impressed during his loan spell at Marseille last season. The 21-year-old led the club to second place in Ligue 1 and was also named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year.

During the 2021/22 season, he made 52 appearances in all competitions and helped his team keep 20 clean sheets.

Since returning to his home club, he has accumulated 282 minutes in four friendlies against Everton, Orlando City, Chelsea and Sevilla.

In the Counter Attack podcast, Lokonga expressed his first impression of the centre-back. He stated:

“I didn’t know he was that good because I’ve never seen him play [he left]. When I first saw him I said, ‘Wow, he’s really, really good’. So I was surprised Arsenal loaned him out and he didn’t play.”

So far, the north London outfit have signed striker Gabriel Jesus, midfielder Fabio Vieira, left-back Oleksandr Zinchenko, goalkeeper Matt Turner and striker Marquinhos.

Jesus arrived from Manchester City for a fee of £45million. He scored 13 goals and provided 12 assists in 41 games in all competitions.

The Brazilian has started well for Arsenal, scoring seven goals in five pre-season games.

Discussing Jesus’ potential impact, Lokonga added:

“I think it’s the energy he brings to the team. He’s a nice guy, when he’s on the field you know he wants to do something, so when he’s there he’s not just playing, he’s living the game. The way he pushes is intense, I think he will bring us a lot this season.”

The 22-year-old continues:

“I think with Jesus you can see [he’s bringing a winning mentality] because it is more expressive. With Zinchenko I think there are two guys who have a lot of quality. I think you’re going to see a lot of good things from them this season.”

The Gunners are set to open their 2022-23 Premier League season at Crystal Palace on August 5.

🗣 “We are ready to go to another level.” Mikel Arteta believes in the Arsenal squad ahead of the season after recruiting the likes of Gabriel Jesus and Zinchenko

James Maddison is desperate to join Arsenal

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison is reportedly keen on sealing a move to Arsenal. Transfer insider Dean Jones shed some light on Maddison’s future on The Done Deal Show, saying:

“From what I’ve heard, Maddison wants to move to Tottenham or Arsenal. If he wants to leave Leicester, one of the two will have to make an offer. That’s the latest I’ve heard.”

The 24-year-old has played in 170 games for Leicester City, recording 45 goals and 32 assists. Last season he had 30 goals in 53 appearances across all competitions.

Paul Merson has predicted all GW 1 Premier League games. More details right here “I didn’t know he was so good”

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