Arsenal sign Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht
Midfielder joins Gunners on a long-term contract, and will travel to Florida with the rest of the squad on Wednesday for their pre-season training camp
19 July, 2021 — By Steve Barnett
ALBERT Sambi Lokonga says he “can’t wait to get started” at Arsenal after finally completing his move from Anderlecht today (Monday).
After months of speculation, the 21-year-old midfielder put pen-to-paper on a “long-tern” deal – believed to be five years – and will wear the number 23 shirt with “Sambi” on the back.
Lokonga joined Anderlecht at 15, and went on to make 78 appearances for the first-team, scoring three goals in the process.
“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 official website.
“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.”
Reportedly costing a little over £17million, Lokonga becomes Arsenal’s second signing of the summer after Portuguese left-back Nuno Tavares, who joined the Gunners from Benfica in a deal worth around £8m earlier this month.
Arsenal have also agreed a deal to sign Brighton centre-back Ben White for £50m, with the 23-year-old England international expected to take a medical when he returns from holiday on July 26.
Lokonga played under former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht. Mikel Arteta spent three years at City as assistant coach, where he worked with Kompany – forging a bond that helped the now Arsenal boss sign Lokonga.
“Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity,” said Arteta. “He has been coached well by Vincent 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 join his new team-mates after he has completed the current isolation regulations for international arrivals into the UK.