Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga joins Arsenal on a long-term contract; 21-year-old will travel to Florida with the rest of the squad on Wednesday for their pre-season training camp; Lokonga: "It's a big step, but I feel confident"
Tuesday 20 July 2021 12:05, UK
Arsenal have completed the signing of midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht.
The 21-year-old joins Arsenal on a long-term contract after making 78 appearances for the Belgian club, where he played under former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany.
"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," Lokonga told Arsenal's 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."
When asked if he prefers to play as a box-to-box midfielder or in a more attacking role, Lokonga added: "I can play both.
"I can play as a six and I can play like a box to box, but people say that I'm better in the six position."
Arsenal have confirmed Lokonga will join up with his new team-mates in the coming days after completing a mandatory isolation period for international travellers.
He is expected to travel to Florida with the rest of the squad on Wednesday for their pre-season training camp.
A Belgium U21 international, Lokonga received his first senior call-up earlier this year when he was an unused substitute against Greece, and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is excited by the midfielder's potential.
"Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity in his performances during his development," said Arteta.
"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."
Technical director Edu added: "We are delighted Albert has signed with us, as there was a lot of interest in him and he was a big target for us.
"Albert is a player we've been tracking for some time, and he will bring us strength in depth in the centre of midfield. We look forward to his continued development with us."
Lokonga becomes Arsenal's second signing of the summer transfer window after Portuguese defender Nuno Tavares, who joined the Gunners from Benfica in a deal worth around £8m.
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.