July 19, (THEWILL) – English Premier League side Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Belgian top division RSC Anderlecht on a long-term contract at the Emirates.
Lokonga graduated to first team football at the Belgian club, passing through their Academy after joining in 2014 as a 15-year-old and signing his first professional contract three years later, when he turned 18.
The 21-year-old midfielder made his first-team debut for Anderlecht in December that year and has been a regular in their side over the past two seasons, making a total of 78 appearances from that 2017 start.
Lokonga featured as one of Belgium’s Under-21 international players before getting promoted to the senior level in March 2021, even though he was an unused substitute against Greece in that first outing of his senior professional cap for Belgium.
The Technical Director of the Emirates club, Edu, was pleased to get the Belgian in the Gunners squad. He said: “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.”
Team manager Mikel Arteta, shared that optimism while noting the influence former Manchester City icon Vincent Kompany has had on Lokonga: “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 on 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.”
The midfielder is expected to complete the current isolation regulations for international arrivals into the UK before linking up with his new team-mates in the coming days as Arteta’s squad continue their pre-season matches, where they have lost one to Hibernian and drawn with Rangers.
Lokonga will be itching to get into action and help bring some victories back to the squad while decked in the number 23 shirt that will have the name “Sambi” on the back.