Albert Sambi Lokonga signed for Crystal Palace on loan until the end of the season in the January transfer window after Arsenal completed a deal to bring Jorginho to the Emirates Stadium

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Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga has sent a subtle dig at Mikel Arteta with a sincere message to Patrick Vieira. The French icon was sacked as manager at Crystal Palace just days before their trip to the Emirates Stadium to face the Premier League leaders.

The Belgian midfielder wrote: “Thank you for giving me back the smile during this short period of time. See you soon coach!”

Lokonga’s message hints at a potential dig at Arteta, who used the Belgian as a rotation option at best, playing more in the Europa League group stages than he did in the Premier League.

Lokonga has made seven appearances for Palace since his January switch – five of those being starts. The loanee’s absence means that he joins Sam Johnstone and Nathan Ferguson as the three senior Crystal Palace players whom caretaker boss Paddy McCarthy cannot call upon against the Gunners.

Arsenal boss Arteta revealed that a move to Palace would be ideal for the youngster to earn more game time.

“We’ve offloaded the squad with three players. Sambi needed time and games to develop the talent that he has and I think in Palace we’ve found the right club with the right coaching staff as well, so I believe that will work out,” the Spaniard said.

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