Arsenal’s new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga has been backed to settle well into the Premier League after the midfielder finalised his transfer from Belgium side Anderlecht on Monday.
Lokonga, 21, was the Gunners’ second signing of the summer after left-back Nuno Tavares joined earlier in the window from Portuguese side Benfica.
He arrives in the Premier League looking to compete and dislodge one of Thomas Partey or Mohamed Elneny from Mikel Arteta’s first team.
Current Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and Anderlecht manager and ex-Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany have already had good things to say on the 21-year-old’s qualities and potential as he embarks on his new challenge in England.
Additionally to these comments, Anderlecht’s sporting director Peter Verbeke has predicted that ‘leader’ Lokonga will have no trouble adapting and settling into the fast-paced environment associated with the Premier League.
Speaking on Sky Sports News, Verbeke said: “Sambi of course is a very good player.
“He is one of the top talents coming from our academy.
“He can play as a defensive midfield player, he can also play as a box-to-box player.
“Especially in the last two seasons at the club, he has developed really well.
“Sambi is someone who is good on the ball.
“His technical ability in tight spaces is really good- Good short and long passing.
“Sambi has been the captain of the club, of a very young Anderlecht of course.
“He was still a natural captain and leader on and off the pitch, and he is someone that I would say is really open-minded.
“I think he will settle in really well in a new club.
“Because his technical ability is that good, I don’t think there will be any adaptation problems.
“Of course, the Premier League is a higher level than the Belgian league, but the boys that have been developed at Anderlecht like Youri Tielemans and Romelu Lukaku, I think they settled in well because they got a good education at the Anderlecht academy.
“So, I expect Sambi will do the same thing.”
The summer window is officially open, and it’s going to be tough to keep up with the comings and goings in and out of the Emirates.
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The 21-year-old midfielder in his first words as an Arsenal player thanked Arteta and Edu for giving him the chance to take the next step up from Belgian First Division A to the Premier League.
“I have to thank the coach and Edu because they really wanted me to be here,” he said.
“I know that they want to play with a lot of young guys. I know that 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 it’s not going to change a lot.”
Lokonga set back the Gunners a fee of around £15million plus add-ons, and the midfielder signed a long-term contract at the Emirates Stadium.
The Belgium Under-21 International made 27 league appearances for Anderlecht in the 2020/21 season, during which time he scored on three occasions, while he also provided two assists.