The Gunners have completed the signing of Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga. The Premier League club announced Lokonga has signed a “long-term” contract, although a fee has not been disclosed, the deal is reported to be worth £15million (€17.4m).
Anderlecht youth product Lokonga, 21, has played 78 times for the Belgian Pro League outfit and oversaw the development of Romelu Lukaku, Youri Tielemens and Leander Dendoncker.
“It’s a big move after playing for Anderlecht for 10 years,” he told Arsenal’s official website.
“It’s a big step, but I feel confident for the simple reason that in the football world you have to feel confident about yourself.
“I can’t wait to play in this league and can’t wait to get started.
I did not hesitate one second when my lawyer told me about Arsenal’s interest. I told him, ‘Excuse me, I will go there.'”
Another 21-year-old has already joined Arsenal this close season, as Benfica’s Nuno Tavares joins them.
Youth will continue to be a focus for head coach Mikel Arteta and director of football Edu, according to links to Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Ben White.
Edu said: “We’re delighted Albert has signed with us as he was a big target for us and there was a lot of interest in him.”
“Albert is a player we have been tracking for some time, and he will give us depth in midfield.”
While Lokonga enjoys playing as an all-action midfielder, he has been told that he would be better suited to playing in front of the defence.
“I know they want to pay with a lot of young players, and Arsenal has a good academy,” he added.
Having a good academy at Anderlecht did not change a lot for me.
In the six position, I can play both box-to-box and as a six. Many people say I am better in this position.”
After failing to qualify for Europe last season for the first time in 26 years, Arsenal open their 2021-22 Premier League campaign at Brentford.