Arsenal sign Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht for a fee of £18m

The Gunners have added the highly-rated Belgian midfielder to their ranks.

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Albert Lokonga has joined Arsenal from Anderlecht for £18 million ($25 million).

In order to land the 21-year-old, Arsenal reportedly defeated Italian clubs to land him. The promising midfielder has signed a long-term contract for Emirates Stadium, which is believed to be for five years. Lokonga will travel to Florida to join up with his new Arsenal teammates before the pre-season tour begins. He hopes to force his way into Mikel Arteta’s starting lineup.  He will wear No 23 with the name ‘Sambi’ on the back.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta told the club website: “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 provide Arteta with a much-needed additional option in the middle of the park following the departure of Matteo Gunedouzi to Marseille and the return of Dani Ceballos to Real Madrid after spending two seasons on loan at the north London club. It is also reported that Granit Xhaka is closing in on a move, with Roma reportedly completing a deal for the Swiss international.

The newest signing of Arsenal may have to wait to see his first competitive appearance however since he naturally plays in the holding midfield role Thomas Partey occupies. In addition to his versatility, Lokonga can also play centrally or on the right, although the Gunners see the Belgian as a long-term prospect and will give him plenty of time to become accustomed to the Premier League.

After graduating to the senior team from the academy at Anderlecht in 2017, Lokonga played 78 games in all competitions during his time at the club. The midfielder has recorded three goals and seven assists for the Belgian club.

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