Lokonga: I’m best as a number six

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New signing Albert Lokonga says he can play as a box-to-box midfielder but he thinks he’s better known in Belgium for playing a holding role.

Arsenal are believed to have paid around €17.5 million for the 21-year-old Belgian who becomes the club’s second signing of the summer after the arrival of Nuno Tavares.

Excited to join up with Arsenal’s youthful first team squad, Lokonga said: “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.

“It’s a big step, but I feel confident because 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 the league.

“I know that they [Arteta and Edu] want to play with a lot of young guys. I know Arsenal have a good academy and in Anderlecht, we also have a good academy. A lot of young players with a lot of talent so for me I think it’s not going to change a lot.

On his best position, he added: “I can play as a six and I can play like a box to box, but yeah, people say that I’m better in the six position.”

Lokonga is expected to travel with his new teammates to the United States for the upcoming Florida Cup. It’ll be interesting to see if he is partnered with Thomas Partey or preferred as an alternative.

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Jack Action

I like. Young, hungry, addresses a need. Big upside and if he doesn’t stick long term, sell on value. Good business, this.

C.B.

We’ve needed a holding midfielder for many years. We were best when we had Petit or Gilberto in the team and have been poorer for many years without one.

Johnny 4 Hats

BBC report that Lokonga signed for Anderlecht when he was 15, but here he said he’s been at the club for ten years.

Are we absolutely sure he’s definitely 21?

Merlin’s Panini

Probably signed professional terms at 15.

Torterrier

The BBC aren’t really known for high journalistic standards these days

Eric Blair

Takes me back to the signing of Kanu.

What I wouldn’t give to have him in his prime up front for us next season, for the best first name in football if nothing else.

Lettra

In Total agreement, we are looking smarter with our business. Goood age , good profile and if you have read what his manager a certain Kompany has said about his prospects we have a real talent on our hands.

UzesGooner

Welcome Albert ! 💥

La Défense

Partey 5 and Lokonga 6 FTW!

Cold_in_Minnesota

Partey of five
I’ll see myself out.

shokim

It’s exciting we’re buying more young players. Hoping Sambi works out. Being made captain at 21 must show he possesses leadership qualities.

Fezec

But when did he get the key to his parent’s house?

Eric Blair

And did he get it ahead of his older brother?

It Is What It Is

His dad handed his bunch over as soon as he walked into the delivery room.

ozymandias

First birthday

Tiereny's secret Waitrose card

Not to be a wet blanket but I recalled Denilson was also captain at every junior level for Brazil before he joined us…

Teta's cult of personality

That’s not a good comparison. Lokonga was captain of a team which included over-30s while he was still a youth (junior level) player himself.

Paul

Whenever someone says “Not to be a”, they usually go ahead and do just that.

David C

He was Anderlecht captain too. Sounds like he has some real leadership potential as well.

Best of luck! Welcome to Arsenal.

Eric Blair

As long as he’s better than a ‘number 2’.

Snagger

Not sure who downed you but I laughed.

Laca New Signing

You meant “less injury prone than a certain number 2” surely. I’ve read about similarities in their dribbling ability. Can’t wait to watch our Diaby.20 (minus the injuries)

Teta's cult of personality

Double entendre. Nice

Eddy F

Surely a long term replacement/alternative to Partey to begin with.

If he impresses he could start alongside him, but I think we’ll see him in the cups and as a sub in the PL to close out games to begin with.

The Xhaka replacement will be more of a passer.

Stu

Understudy to Partey or can play behind Partey and whoever replaces Xhaka in a more conservative line up without a number 10 would be my best guess. Definitely gives us more options for our midfield configuration which is definitely exciting to see. Good luck to him!

Paul

Please can someone help me. I don’t usually understand player numbers (position) except roles (Dm, Cb, Rb, etc) what’s a number 6’s role?

Snagger

You will find them normally between 5 and 7

edwardavern

Traditionally a Number 6 is a defensive midfielder.

Tony51

Traditionally? Try telling that to Tony Adams.

loose_cannon

A 6 is traditionally a DM in continental Europe, especially a regista. I think in the UK the position tends to be associated with the number 4, but as the influence of the European games grows over here, it’s more common for the position to be referred to as a 6.

Gio

Here in Brazil nº 6 its Left Back LOL

Bort

Same in México

renaissancerosicky

What’s a no. 2 then?

nycgunner

Totttenham

Yorkshire Gooner

Traditionally 6 was a central defender in England. Mr Arsenal himself – Tony Adams – wore 6 for many years. 4 was the defensive mid. But as others have said 6 is becoming more common for that now.

DB’s first touch

In the context of the article 6 is referring to a DM. But as the other commenters have pointed out above, it means different things in different places, usually tied to the tactical evolution of football in those places. Michael Cox wrote a fascinating series of articles (I think for the Athletic) on the links and history between numbers and positions and why 6 can refer to a DM in Europe a CB in England and a LB in Brazil.

The Observant Gooner

Numbers traditionally start with the keeper, going forward. So 1 is the GK. The most common defence has 4 at the back, so 2-3-4-5, with centre backs taking 3-4 or 4-5.

Next logical player? The defensive mid sitting in front of them. Hence the number 6. In an ideal numbering system, the 4-5-6 form a sweet defensive core triangle (think Bonucci-Chiellini-Jorginho). But then come in the human choices: formation, availability and preference.

Goldman

1– Goalkeeper
2– Right Fullback
3– Left Fullback
4– Center Back
5– Center Back (or Sweeper, if used)
6– Defending/Holding Midfielder
7– Right Midfielder/Winger
8– Central/Box-to-Box Midfielder
9– Striker
10– Attacking Midfielder/Playmaker
11– Left Midfielder/Wingers

there you go

Teta's cult of personality

If using a 4-3-3 formation, traditionally in Europe (England aside), the players would wear a jersey number according to the following player roles. 1 – Goalkeeper 2 – Right Back 3 – Left Back 4 – Centre Back 5 – Centre Back 6 – Defensive Midfielder 7 – Winger 8 – Central midfielder (box to box) 9 – Centre Forward 10 – Offensive Midfielder (playmaker) 11 – Winger So a 6 would traditionally refer to a holding/ defensive midfielder. Numbers 7,8,10 and 11 tend to be more interchangeable than the others. In British football, the 4 and 6’s roles in… Read more »

John

Just to make things easier to understand, Tierney plays 6 for Scotland.

Gabe

Always thought the number 6 was a central defender partnering number 5 at the heart of the defence. Then 4 as the holding midfielder.
Anyways I know the modern game has so many formations now, maybe the traditional numbering system as evolved too.

Yorkshire Gooner

You’re right that was the traditional numbering system in England – certainly at Arsenal. Before players kept their squad numbers the team was always 1 to 11. 5 and 6 central defence and 4 central midfield. This numbering was a hangover from older formations from the 50s back when players had different roles.

jiggernaught

Will probably play alongside Partey if Xhaka leaves, and that is a big if. At any rate, can resist pressing a lot better than Xhaka, and is a decent passer himself, but also a lot quicker than Xhaka, which was Granit’s biggest drawback in the English game. The only thing that made Xhaka stand out was his long range passing, and that is something that Partey can actually do almost as well, but also something that can become Ben White’s task, who is very able in that regard. Partey – Lokonga , we good, lets focus on a creative midfielder… Read more »

Rick_Sanchez

Don’t forget Gabriel. He can play them long passes, too!

Djouroureallylikeit

Like the look of this guy a lot! He looks technically very good and hyper-mobile which is now one of the most important attributes in the EPL.

It is going to be super interesting who else we sign for CM. I personally would love Aouar (is there another name with four vowels in a row?) Think his dribbling and technical ability would be a good mix with Lokonga and Partey.

Have you been invited to Aouar (lo)Konga Partey?

Teta's cult of personality

Sequoia?

Teryima Adi

Sign a CAM and RB and we are good to go.

Does this signing spell the end for Maitland-Niles?

I can’t imagine we go into the new season with the four CM options of Partey, Simbi, Elneny, AMN – but perhaps Arteta is settled on that.

Also curious if Torreira will return to Arsenal pre-season training after his post Copa America holidays. Uruguay were eliminated 3rd July so his 4-week holiday should be finished Saturday next week.