Mikel Arteta has made Belgium Under-21 star Albert Sambi Lokonga his second signing of the summer, joining Portuguese left back Nuno Tavares who arrived last week.
The Gunners are also closing in on Brighton’s imposing English centre-back Ben White but it’s the arrival of Sambi Lokonga that has got tongues wagging in the red part of North London and some going tap tap tap on their phones at the moment.
At a glance: 5 key points
- Albert Sambi Lokonga has joined Arsenal for around £18million from Belgian side Anderlecht.
- Sambi was born in Belgium to Congolese parents and grew up in Verviers, a municipality in Belgium Province of Liege.
- His older brother Paul-Jose Mpoku is also a professional footballer who currently plays for Al Wahda in Abu Dhabi but spent the 2010/2011 season on the books of Tottenham Hotspur before leaving to join Leyton Orient.
- Sambi Lokongo joined the Anderlecht academy at the age of 11 and progressed through the ranks until he signed his first professional contract in 2017.
- In three seasons with the first team, Sambi made 69 league appearances and scored three leagues goals, a progression that has led Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta describing him as an intelligent player and great addition to his side.
What’s been said?
“Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity,” said Arsenal boss Mikel 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.”
What type of player is Sambi? What will he bring to Arsenal?
Sambi is quite a leader for a 21-year-old and is always seen bellowing instruction to his teammates.
He’s got a shot and has scored a few long-range scorchers in the cup games for Anderlecht. His passing is great, and technique is decent, but he really comes alive when surrounded by more defensive minded midfielders and that is where the likes of Thomas Partey and Granit Xhaka can unleash his potential.
He’s mobile and can play as number six or number eight with intelligence and a good engine to get up and down pitch that will come handy in the often demanding energy sapping Premier League.
He’s a ball playing midfielder that will certainly suit Arteta’s style of football and with Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard all returning to Madrid, there is certainly space for the youngster to fill and develop in the coming years.