The Anderlecht midfielder is set to join Mikel Arteta’s ranks over the summer – here’s your guide to the Belgian
Arsenal are poised to sign midfielder Albert Lokonga from Anderlecht, having recently agreed a deal with Benfica for left-back Nuno Tavares.
The 21-year-old Belgian is set to undergo a medical before completing his move to Emirates Stadium, after Arsenal agreed a deal in principle worth up to £18 million ($25m).
Goal brings you everything you need to know about Arsenal’s soon-to-be new signing.
Who is Albert Lokonga?
Lokonga was born in Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, on October 22, 1999.
He joined the Anderlecht youth system in 2014, before signing his first professional contract with the club in November 2017, making his senior debut on December 22 that year in a 1-0 league win over Eupen.
He became a first-team regular in the 2019-20 season, making 26 appearances in all competitions for Anderlecht before the Belgian First League season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020-21, Lokonga made a career-high 37 senior appearances and scored three goals, including his first senior strike, which came in a 1-1 draw against Eupen – again – on September 27.
Anderlecht finished fourth in the table to qualify for next season’s Europa Conference League – meaning they play continental football next season, something Arsenal will not.
How much will Albert Lokonga cost Arsenal?
Arsenal have agreed an initial fee believed to be around £15m ($21m) for Lokonga.
That is a fee that will increase, however, due to several add-ons that will be included in the final deal. In all, Arsenal are expected to pay close to £18m for the young midfielder, should those add-ons and bonuses be met.
Why do Arsenal want to sign Albert Lokonga?
Goal’s Arsenal correspondent Charles Watts: “Arsenal view Lokonga as a player with immense potential and he fits the profile of the type of player the club are looking to recruit this summer.
“At just 21 and having only been playing in Belgium, he is not expected to come in and be an instant replacement for Roma-bound Granit Xhaka, but he will still get a lot of game time as he adjusts to the demands of the Premier League.
“With Matteo Guendouzi having joined Marseille, Dani Ceballos having returned to Madrid and Lucas Torreira expected to leave, Arsenal are well aware of the need to bolster their midfield ranks this summer.
“Lokonga will do exactly that and will look to put pressure on Thomas Partey and whoever is brought in to replace Xhaka in the heart of midfield as the season progresses.”
Which position does Albert Lokonga play?
Lokonga primarily plays as a central midfielder, on the right side of a 4-3-3. He has also been deployed as the central, more defensive player of the middle three.
In Mikel Arteta’s preferred 4-2-3-1, he would most likely play in the two, but would also fit into the 3-4-2-1 and 4-3-3 formations that Arsenal used at times in 2020-21.
What national team does Albert Lokonga play for?
Lokonga has declared for Belgium, although he was eligible to play for DR Congo – his brother, former Spurs youth player Paul-Jose M’Poku, has played 14 times for the African nation.
The younger brother has played seven times for Belgium’s Under-21s and was called up for the senior squad for their friendly against Greece in June. However, he has yet to make his debut for Roberto Martinez’s side and missed out on the squad for Euro 2020.
What is Albert Lokonga’s FIFA 21 rating and potential?
Lokonga’s overall rating in FIFA 21 is 73, with a potential of 82. He has got a three-star skill moves rating. He prefers to shoot with his right foot and his work rate is medium.
His best stat is ball control, which is 81, while he has 78 in short passing, stamina, agility and composure.