Arsenal has signed Anderlecht and Belgian youth midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga on a long-term contract. Although the transfer value is unknown, it is believed to be around £18 million.
Lokonga joined Anderlecht in 2010 and moved to the senior team at the same club in 2017. After joining Anderlecht at the age of 15, Lokonga made his first-team debut in December 2017 and continued to make 69 appearances, scoring three goals.
“Albert is a very smart player who has shown great maturity,” said Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta. “He was coached well by Vincent Kompany and his Anderlecht team. I know Vincent very well and he talks a lot about Albert and the positive impact he had on Anderlecht in recent seasons.”
“We are confident that Albert is ready for the next phase of his growth and we look forward to welcoming a new member to our team with his quality and presence,” Arteta added.
Arsenal Media asked if he sees himself as a box-to-box midfielder or an attacking playmaker, Lokonga said: “I can play both. I can play as a six and I can play like a box to box, but yeah, people say that I’m better in the six position.”
Lokonga said on the hurdles he has to clear in north London: “Yeah, it’s a big step, but I feel confident because we have to. In the football world, you have to feel confident about yourself, but I’m looking to play in this league and I can’t wait to start the league.”
Arsenal’s technical director, Edu, said: “There was a lot of interest in Albert and he was an important target for us. He will bring us strength deep down in the center of the field.”
The midfielder, who will wear the number 23 at Arsenal, played seven times for the Belgian Under-21s, scoring two goals. Lokonga will join his new teammates after the current isolation rules for international arrivals in the UK are finalized.
Arsenal is also approaching the football transfer of Brighton and England defender Ben White, for £50m, after already taking 21-year-old left-back defender Nuno Tavares from Benfica this summer for £8m.
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