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Sambi Lokonga ‘p***ed off’ with Belgium boss Martinez and says he ‘almost snapped’ and asked for Arsenal transfer exit

ARSENAL midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has revealed he almost quit both Arsenal AND the Belgium national team earlier this year.

The 22-year-old joined the Gunners from Anderlecht for £18million in the summer of 2021.

He started 16 times under Mikel Arteta last season, but was often reduced to being used as a back-up in the middle of the park.

This consequently saw him struggle for game time with his country as Belgian boss Roberto Martinez opted to leave him on the bench in both of their friendly matches in March.

And it has left Lokonga furious with the former Wigan and Everton manager as the World Cup fast approaches.

Speaking to La Derniere Heure, he said: “I called him the day after the international match in March. I was really p****d off.

“I thought for a moment that I didn’t even want to play for the national team anymore. I was disgusted.

“Martinez said he preferred players who are playing regularly at their club.

He was also not completely satisfied with my training. I don’t think he can portray me as a bad boy who doesn’t work hard. It would be too easy to put up such a picture of me.

“He can’t use something like that to justify why I don’t get to play.”

Lokonga has not been included in Martinez’s squad since the friendlies in March.

And the midfielder has also admitted he considered departing Arsenal following just one campaign in England.

“At the end of last season, I almost snapped,” he added when speaking about his first year in the Premier League.

“I called my agent to ask him if staying at Arsenal was a good idea.

“He comforted me in my choice, even though I know I need to start more often to develop.”

Lokonga has enjoyed more game time so far this season, featuring in six of the Gunners’ 11 Prem matches and starting all three of their Europa League games.

Arteta’s men sit top of the Premier League table with nine wins from 10 and also boast a 100 per cent record in Europe.

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