Arsenal confirm €17.5m capture...


Arsenal confirm €17.5m capture of Anderlecht midfielder Lokonga

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Arsenal have completed the signing of Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga. 

The 21-year old has signed a long-term contract at the Emirates, and is reported to have cost the North London club €17.5million.

Lokonga is a graduate of Anderlecht's youth system, first joining as a 15-year old before signing professional terms in 2017.

He's the second signing of what's likely to be an expensive summer for the Gunners. They've already snaffled 21-year old full-back Nuno Tavares from Benfica. Brighton and England defender Ben White is likely to follow for around £50million (€57.88m).

Current Anderlecht head coach Vincent Kompany gave Lokonga a glowing reference earlier this year.

Speaking to Voetbal Belgie, the former Manchester City captain said, "With his qualities at his age, he stands out for me.

"Will Sambi win his duels? Is he improving his defensive work? You ask yourself these questions as a coach. Well, I’ve seen him make a lot of progress in that area.”

Lokonga played 37 games for Anderlecht last season, adding three goals and just as many assists leading Kompany to believe he could have been a bolter for Roberto Martinez's Euro 2020 Belgium squad.

While that did not come to pass, Lokonga can't wait to bed in at Arsenal.

"It's a big move because I have been playing for Anderlecht for 10 years so it's going to be my first big move to another country,” he told Arsenal's web channels.

“It's a big step, but I feel confident because we have to be. 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.”

His new manager Mikel Arteta said, "Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity in his performances during his development.

"He has been coached well by Vincent Kompany and his team at Anderlecht. I know Vincent very well and he talks so highly about Albert and the positive impact he had to Anderlecht in recent seasons.

"We’re confident Albert’s ready for the next stage in his development and we’re looking forward to welcoming a new member to our squad with his quality and presence.”

Lokonga will link up with his new teammates this week before flying out on a pre-season jaunt to Florida. He'll wear the #23 jersey at Arsenal, with 'Sambi' on the back.

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Albert Sambi Lokonga Anderlecht Arsenal Ben White Mikel Arteta Thierry Henry Vincent Kompany

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