Arsenal new boy Lokonga backed to emulate Lukaku and Tielemans after £18m move


The 21-year-old midfielder is ready to take on the Premier League challenge says Anderlecht’s sporting director, who is tipping him to shine

Arsenal new boy Albert Sambi Lokonga is being backed to make a similar impact in the Premier League as fellow Belgians Romelu Lukaku and Youri Tielemans.

The Gunners have invested £18 million ($25m) in the highly-rated 21-year-old midfielder.

He has been lured away from Anderlecht and is expected to emulate the efforts of proven senior internationals who took the same path before starring for Leicester, Everton and Manchester United.

What has been said?

Anderlecht’s sporting director Peter Verbeke, who sanctioned his switch to Emirates Stadium this summer, told Sky Sports of Lokonga: “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.”

What will Lokonga offer to Arsenal?

Albert Lokonga

Lokonga is still learning his trade at the very highest level, but is considered to tick all of the boxes Arsenal are after.

Verbeke even believes Lokonga could be captain material in north London, with his qualities in the middle of the park expected to be embraced by the Premier League heavyweights.

He added: “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.”

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About the Author: Agnes Zang