Arsenal have signed 21-year-old Belgian midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga to a long-term contract, the Gunners announced on Monday. The move is subject to the completion of the regulatory process, and the club did not say how long the deal was for.
Lokonga joined Anderlecht as a 15 year old back in 2014 and signed his first pro contract three years later. He has been a regular at the Belgian club over the last two seasons, playing in 78 total matches. Also a member of the Belgium U-21 team, he was called up to the senior team by Roberto Martinez in March but did not play.
"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," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said in a release. "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."
Lokonga's main position is central midfield, though he has the potential to sit a bit deeper. A technical player with precise passing and dribbling, he also has the ability to produce quality looks on goal from range and shields the ball very well. At times he holds on to the ball a bit longer than he probably should, but he does a stellar job of getting rid of it at just the right moment as defenders collapse on him.
In his first season with the Gunners, he figures to provide depth to the midfield as he progresses likely into a first-team player.