Arsenal have reportedly announced the signing of Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga, who has joined the Gunners on a long-term deal.
Arsenal have made an official statement to confirm that they have secured the services of Albert Sambi Lokonga on a long-term contract. The 21-year-old Belgian midfielder has reportedly penned a five-year deal with the Gunners, who have paid Anderlecht £18 million to sign him.
Albert Sambi Lokonga joined the Anderlecht academy in 2010 before subsequently making swift progress in their youth setup. The young Belgian midfielder then broke into the club’s first-team setup in 2017 and he has since grown exponentially. In fact, his stature skyrocketed so much at Anderlecht that Lokonga even donned the captain’s armband for them in nearly half the games.
The 21-year-old made 37 appearances across all competitions, chipping in with three goals and as many assists. His progress did not go unnoticed as Lokonga ended up popping up on the radars of several clubs across Europe, with the most notable of suitors being Arsenal.
The interest from Arsenal made a world of sense, seeing as the Gunners had been in search for a viable replacement for Dani Ceballos, who has returned to Real Madrid for good following the expiration of his second loan deal.
As a result, a number of players have been linked with Arsenal, who are also in the market for a second midfielder amid the uncertain future of Granit Xhaka. To that end, Lokonga is a viable long-term solution for the north Londoners, who reportedly took little time to agree personal terms with the Belgian midfielder and be on the verge of signing him.
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— Arsenal (@Arsenal) July 19, 2021
The move has now been completed, with Mikel Arteta expressing his delight at securing the services of the 21-year-old. The Arsenal boss 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 also spoke excitedly after completing the move, saying, “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. 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.”
As per Goal, Arsenal have signed Lokonga on a five-year contract, shelling out £18 million to land him. The youngster is now set to begin a new phase in his career and it will be interesting to see if he can be a part of a transformational period for Arsenal.