Arsenal have confirmed the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht in a deal that could total €17.5 million including add ons.

The 21-year-old midfielder joins Mikel Arteta’s midfield as a replacement for Granit Xhaka who is expected to sign for AS Roma in the near future.

Lokonga made his debut for Anderlecht in 2017 and has since made 78 appearances for the Jupiler League giants, predominantly in a holding midfield role. That tally would be even higher were it not for a seven-month spell on the sidelines caused by a ruptured cruciate ligament picked up in 2018.

Already a Belgian under-21 internationals, he was called up to the senior squad by Roberto Martinez in March but is yet to make his full debut.

Speaking about the deal, Mikel Arteta said: “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 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.”

Welcome to Arsenal, Albert. We look forward to seeing what you can bring to the team.

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Carll

Lovely!

Johnny 4 Hats

What? When did all this go down? Anyone know anything about the kid? Maybe there’s a YouTube compilation I could find…

C.B.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AELFTp8drpw there is a search function on YouTube…

Johnny 4 Hats

Wow. Someone’s already done a compilation?

This kid looks great. We should totally put in an offer.

Hank Scorpio

Already done. Reminds me of one of those Wenger signings where nobody has heard of the player or anticipated the signing then hey presto there’s a player being paraded to the press.

Daveo

Yeah this easily the most excited I am about a player we’ve been linked to. I watched as much as I could on him after the first links and he looks like a perfectly well rounded midfielder. I actually hope he gets big mins this season. Looks perfect foil for partey.

ASH

A player who can develop, though not sure if he will be given the time as he walks straight into the starting XI as replacement for Xhaka

All the best

Bishop

I hope we keep Xhaka.

Johnny 4 Hats

I don’t. But I hope we get the right money. 27 year old with bags of experience, (ex) Arsenal and Switzerland captain and coming into his prime. Paid £35m for him and he’s a better player now than he was then.

Roma can fuck off if they think he’s worth less that £20m.

ChickPEA

He’s actually almost 29, which makes a big difference in terms of age profile (even if his style of play isn’t exactly based on speed, so he shouldn’t age too badly).

causethatshowitworks

But is still 28 currently…

Thierry Honorary

Almost 29, but until then..

Awesomesauce25

So if you wouldn’t sell him to the only team currently interested because value is under 20M, are you saying that if he was a Roma player today you would want Arsenal to buy him if the price was under 20M? It’s economically the same result. The fact of the matter is we bought him going into his prime when he was in demand and the market was inflated. Due to COVID the market is now deflated, and he’s no longer in his prime. The Italian league is probably a perfect fit for him to be successful and a sale… Read more »

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

We still need one with the talent of Pogba or Kante, if we have top four ambitions.

Daveo

Lokonga mate, he’s better than either

Goldman

this might turn out to the TRUTH

Daveo

Only Might? Pessimist…

shokim

Welcome to The Arsenal, finally!

Corona X

Don’t call me finally.

shokim

Whatever you say, Sambi.

Qwekumalhi

YES!

Jules

A good rule of thumb, could you see Leicester making this signing? If yes, then well done! This looks like an EXCELLENT bit of business, the perfect back up midfielder that we need who will hopefully (and very likely) grow into a top class player. Welcome sambi!

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Back up ? Who will be replacing Granit?

Hakuna Matata

Locatelli

Bergkamps Boots

Locatelli was never interested in us, he’s using the old Ramos trick to get better money from Juve when he joins.

karl

If he’s not good enough at almost 22, I’m not sure why we bought him.

Jean Ralphio

You could have seen them make this signing if Ndidi left. Really glad we signed him

A Different George

From Phil Costa’s profile, he is not at all in the Ndidi mold–much better passer and dribbler, but questionable in defensive positioning.

Parisian Weetabix

This seems like a weird set of criteria to judge a player on. And I don’t know if you mean the type of signing or the player himself. If you mean the type of signing then, yeah, Leicester pluck unknown gems from leagues like this, but that doesn’t mean every young player in Belgium’s a superstar in waiting. And if you mean the player himself could play for Leicester… surely if we can judge that astutely whether he’d be good for Leicester we can cut out the middle man and just say he’d be good for Arsenal? I don’t mean… Read more »

Jules

Weird set of criteria to judge a player on? Nah, it was a light hearted statement with some vague truth to it. Leicester came up from the championship, won the league, sold their best players but somehow stayed up (and finished above us) only through, frankly, *incredible* recruitment and sales. Lokonga isn’t a Leicester type signing because he’s some unknown Belgian gem, but because he has the exact qualities you’d want from a player of his profile, plenty of minutes at a young age, captaining his team by the age of 21, really high progressive passing numbers, no major glaring… Read more »

Tanned arse

Ha! Leicester bought boubakary soumare for £17m from lille who is already a top class player in the same position and only a year older. Whilst all the talk last summer was about partey or auroa, some were calling for what seemed the obvious signing of soumare who was clearly available. He declined a move to Newcastle 18 months ago apparently because he wanted a bigger club. He then got dropped as the club wanted the money and weren’t happy. Its not just a criticism of arsenal, soumare would be great for any top team in the premiership but the… Read more »

Jules

No doubt soumare is an excellent signing for Leicester, and no doubt had we pushed for him we would’ve had a good chance of landing him, but he is an extremely defensively minded midfielder and that doesn’t seem to be the profile that arsenal are looking at. Say about that what you will. Soumare is an out and out holding midfielder who does need improving in his forward play and ball progression, and that’s not the profile we’re looking at, we’re looking specifically at ball progressors which I think is excellent, we need that badly. There is certainly a strong… Read more »

Tanned arse

I certainly get where you’re coming from and I don’t think we should buy an out and out holding midfielder. Personally I see soumare as far more capable than that. It could be said that bissouma is an out and out defensive midfielder too based on how he played for Brighton but the technical level he demonstrated at lille shows he’s so much more. I’ve seen soumare and what he’s capable of if asked to be progressive. He clearly is. As for lokonga, maybe he’ll prove to be just as good but there’s 6 months age difference and the same… Read more »

Jules

I actually agree largely. I think if Arteta brings in an almost like-for-like xhaka replacement, that would be stupid. Which is why I’m not for the Neves move even though he would be an upgrade on Xhaka. We need someone in that role who can do what Xhaka did (keep things ticking, distribute consistently, general xhaka-ing) but who also can do things xhaka couldn’t, aka beat the press swiftly, make driving runs forward, pass in between the lines more frequently than not etc. I think the reason Bissouma isn’t so high up on our CM list is because while he… Read more »

Fabulous

Wholly agree. This is why Auouar would be tremendous IMO, especially for the touted price. He’d definitely be able to break the first line of defense with his dribbling. Partey can be the more static of the two, and ping long passes when needed (something people rarely give him credit for, when he’s actually pretty good at it).

Teta's cult of personality

You made some great points, virtually all of which I agree with. Do you remember the summer we signed Sanchez? We could have signed Di Maria as speculation suggested. Instead we went for Barcelona’s rotation option over an established starter for Madrid. It would have been hard to predict that Di Maria would flop at Utd and Alexis would be a maverick at Arsenal. Soumare is a very good player, though I wouldn’t call him top class yet. He’s still young and has only played under 1 manager in a system that has been fine-tuned to a tee. This is… Read more »

Qwaliteee

Fucking hell. The Arsenal taking their cues from Leicester City.

If that doesn’t say it all….

Comedian

Wonder how LONGA till we see him in action. Welcome to The Arsenal.

Johnny 4 Hats

Would it be too much to ask fans to rework ‘La Bamba’ to Lo Lo Lo Lo Lo Lokonga?

Probably.

Breezymh

Come on shake your body baby do Lokonga…

I’ll see myself out.

Savage

The energetic rhythms of a low conga.

Clearly I’m reaching … down.

Shance

Its got to be to the tune of inner circle’s classic “sweat (alala long)”.

Lo lo lo lo lo Lo-Konga!

Aussie Henry

Welcome to The Arsenal! Looking forward to seeing him develop a dynamic partnership with Partey – something we’ve been missing for a few years in the midfield.

Nacho de Montreal is tasty

Arteta acts on recommendations from his network. Runnarson recommended by Inaki, Scotland for preseason by reliable Tierney, Lokonga by Kompany.
Welcome to Lokonga, prove the boss right! Like Tierney, you will deserve our love.

Diaminedave

Maybe Lokonga came because of Arteta!
Recommended by De Bruyne, Kompany
Who knows
but however he got here
Welcome to the club Sambi !

Verdant

Doesn’t all coaches do that?

I think Sambi was also mentioned by Henry, which means he has quite a number of referrals. And that is what makes me glad and optimistic, considering we’re yet to see much of him.

Welcome Sambi.

Saps

Welcome, Sambi!!

Once a gunner

Coyg, show us what you got boy, I know you will improve our midfielder

@jbrusty

This transfer seemed to come out of nowhere…

Maul Person

It’s been talked about for the last two weeks. It wasn’t completed sooner because he was finishing up his quarantine having flown into the country. Protracted is more what it was than out of the blue.

Hakuna Matata

Don’t u understand humuor?

Maul Person

I could ask you the same if you consider that humour…

Zenithreptile

Agree, a complete shock.

Hulahoops Baptista

If his goal celebration is neither (or a mix between) the samba and the conga I will be contacting trading standards.

Merlin’s Panini

Good stuff. Has been called up by Belgium before so he must be a talent. Perhaps one for the future or to grow into the team this season but you never know. We didn’t expect Matteo Guendouzi to play every game under the sun in his first season.

Bill Hall

Most unlike the Arsenal, 3 players already signed (if you include Ben White) and it’s only the third week of July! 🤣😉

Maul Person

A whole month and a bit after the window opened. Yeah, amazing..

onenil

Wow your hard to please!
Several times recently we have been running round the bargain basement on the last day of the window… Have you ever played left back? At school when nobody else turned up? Right! Would you like a bucket of money?

Verdant

No. They all showed up, played for hours, got tired, and left…

Perry Groves Tips

And none of them over 30. It just won’t be the same unless/until we can bring in a player of that age, and at a wage commensurate with it!

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

That shouldn’t be too hard. Pensions are pretty low nowadays.

Once a gunner

We need creative midfielders

Qwaliteee

Yep.

Everyone’s getting carried away with what ostensibly is a bread and butter squad signing. Nothing more.

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

I’d probably trust your judgement about the relative worth of new players a bit more if only you could spell “quality” right 🙂

K9ine

Another young one. Welcome son. Hope u have a monster season with plenty of positive highlights.
Now to the next

karl

Great signing and he has the physical presence for the Premier League. I got to the stage where I just craved something different in midfield and what a start.

Man Manny

This is a very good signing, but I always thought he was more of a replacement for Guendouzi than Xhaka.
Welcome Lokonga; Let the Konga Partey begin!!!

Magneto

Welcome to The Arsenal, Albert, all the best.

Note: Arsenal did not confirm that he is “a replacement for Granit Xhaka”.

DialSquareGoon

Agreed, they didnt. IMO, that’s because he’s a Xhaka replacement for certain types of games (when we’re counter attacking against a big side). Notionally, I’d say he’s Partey’s understudy.

Kulest emmy mbakwe

Welcome to the one of the best team of the world wish you well

Kulest emmy mbakwe

Am so happy for the gunners what a great signing

Perry Groves Tips

Prior to the press speculation that we may sign him I hadn’t heard of him. That’s probably down to my ignorance of course and it certainly doesn’t mean that he isn’t a good player – or that he won’t become an even better one with us. Welcome to Arsenal, Albert.

Neil Bamford

No. 2! Looking positive so far

Jarghs

Must be ages since we had a player called Albert.

Merlin’s Panini

Mendez was the last one I can think of but he was an Alberto so not quite accurate. Other than that an Albert Gudmondsson in 1946 and the brilliantly named Albert Christmas in 1891. There may be more but that’s all I could find.

YaGunnersYa

If Merlin’s research is correct:

  1. Our first Albert played 1 senior game for Arsenal (and also had one England cap).
  2. Our second Albert played 2 senior games for Arsenal (and later became Finance Minister in Iceland).

I’m backing our latest Albert to surpass both of their achievements before January (on the pitch, at least).

Merlin’s Panini

He’s gonna be Belgian Prime Minister.

onenil

I knew a woman who married a guy called James Christmas.
When I heard she was pregnant, I asked her if it felt like Christmas had come early.

chepetin

Well, to be fair, if Christmas had come early she probably wouldn’t be pregnant in the first place…

Gutbukkit Deffrolla

She was so lucky to become pregnant… Christmas comes but once a year.

Jarghs

I knew you guys wouldn’t disappoint 🙂

YoungGun

In the last few seasons we have gotten Martinelli,Pepe, Tierney, Partey, Pablo Mari, Gabriel and seen the development of Smith-Rowe and Saka. Yes there have been a few misses (Willian, Runarson)but we have signed quite a few players that have played well and have either maintained their market value or even increased it. I dont think the blame thrown at Edu is all warranted.

Savage

Why can’t he start games for us?

Qwaliteee

Because we still need a stellar attacking midfielder.

Brady’s bunch

Welcome let’s hope he hits the ground running and is a good fit with Partey 🤞

Qwaliteee

Mate, this dude is a squad player, nothing more. One to bring off the bench.

We still need an undisputed top drawer attacking midfielder to partner Thomas Partey.

If nothing else, this transfer window should be about that and that alone. So far, Arteta and Edu have produced nothing. Why am I not surprised. Panic buy incoming…..

Wobadub

Always Lokonga bright side of life!

Merlin’s Panini

Ooh, ooh, ooh come on and do Lokonga… sorry.

Qwaliteee

Don’t be.

It’s taken 40 years, but someone has finally found a ‘use’ for that epitome of 80’s naff.

Like giving Chris Waddle a paper round.

Uhtred

Don’t ever be sorry for that!

RedandWhite

Just to be clear. We still have not made a signing for our starting 11. Sambi and Tavares are well and fine to improve depth and provide cover but they’re young, inexperienced players who probably won’t feature much unless there’s an injury crisis.

8th two seasons running and we still have not improved our starting 11. Shocking

YoungGun

There are always injuries. Its rare an entire first starting 11 all stays healthy, especially if not given rest. Depth is a must.

Qwaliteee

Very true – the pending signing of White notwithstanding.

We still need a top drawer attacking midfielder to partner Thomas Partey. And given the more reliable rumour sources are conspicuous by their relative silence, then it would appear that, at least to date, Arteta and Edu have done bugger all about it.

Dom47

White can f*ck off, not needed at all. Our club has zero planning abilities, we had saliba who in his third season still can’t get a look in.

chepetin

Welcome to Arsenal.

Your new Tavares nickname is: “The Sambi”

Hank Scorpio

Not sure I’m that excited now because it feels like we signed him weeks ago. Thankfully it’s finally officially official. Welcome aboard Albert. Good signing in my view and the right kind of signing.

Teryima Adi

Welcome on board the Arsenal, Son. You sure’d have a glorious time playing for us.

Domi

Many new shiny toys for mikel to play with, while he did not utilize in the right way or enjoy the ones he had before… So he didn’t deserve the new ones, just plasters the cracks in mikel/edu ship…