πŸ”΄ Albert Sambi Lokonga: Everything you need to know about Arsenal's new midfield man
Transfer News

πŸ”΄ Albert Sambi Lokonga: Everything you need to know about Arsenal's new midfield man

Arsenal has confirmed the signing of Belgian central midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga in a deal that could reportedly rise to €22m. 

Here's a quick insight into the 21-year-old and what Arsenal fans can expect from him. 

🇧🇪 Albert Sambi Lokonga

The talented young Belgian recently recovered from a serious knee injury and has become a key component of Anderlecht's rebuild under Vincent Kompany. He made his debut for the club aged 17, and at 21 he already captains the side.

✅ Strengths

Lokonga is a confident, athletic & energetic central midfielder who's known for his mobility. He also uses his body well to protect the ball, allowing him to spin away from markers, especially against teams that employ a high press. From there, he's capable of driving into space ahead of him. 

Lokonga recycles the ball well in defensive areas and passes it crisply and enjoys dictating play from deep. One of his major strengths is his ability to switch the play/angle of attacks with precision passing over longer distances. This might allow Thomas Partey to move more vertically in a box-to-box role. Sambi is also adept at progressing the ball between the lines with positive and proactive passing and likes to take risks in that regard. 

📉 Potential weaknesses

Lokonga's awareness and technique in defensive phases are both areas where he can improve. He has the potential to become a top-class ball-winner but needs to improve his decision-making in his own third in order to do that. 

🧮 What Sambi's arrival means for Arsenal

Lokonga isn't prolific in any defensive midfield metrics. He doesn't make a large number of tackles, blocks and clearances per 90 minutes, but what he does do well is defend the space. His defensive intelligence off the ball might facilitate a switch back to Mikel Arteta's favoured 433 system.

Arsenal's midfield unit would gradually become a more dynamic and less static one with Lokonga in it. Fans of the North London side will be hoping that Lokonga allows Thomas Partey to flourish in the heart of the engine room but supporters will need to be patient, though, as he is still developing.

🗣 What Arsenal says

Mikel Arteta: “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.

Arsenal's new midfield man will wear the number 23 jersey with "Sambi" on the back. With the Gunners in the final stages of talks with Roma over the sale of Granit Xhaka and Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares having already arrived at the club, this is proving to be the start of a busy summer of ins and outs at Emirates Stadium.

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