New arrival Lokonga has already told Arteta his best position at Arsenal

New Arsenal signing Albert Sambi Lokonga has already told Mikel Arteta his best position after completing his transfer to the Emirates.

The exciting Belgian has been one of his country’s hottest prospects since breaking through with Anderlecht as a teenager, with the Gunners hierarchy having to shell out reported £15 million to acquire the 21-year-old.

Lokonga is a central midfielder and a young leader, having captained Vincent Kompany’s side to a fourth-place finish in the Juliper Pro League last season, making 27 appearances.

Arsenal are set to lose three central midfielders this summer, with Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard returning to Real Madrid and Grant Xhaka set to join Jose Mourinho‘s Roma.

With Joe Willock’s potential permanent move to Newcastle on the cards too, Arteta will be looking to through Lokonga in at the deep end at the start of the new term and the Belgium youth international has already informed his boss where he likes playing most.

“It’s a big move because I have been playing for Anderlecht for 10 years so it’s going to be my first big move to another country,” he firstly told the Gunners’ website.

“It’s a big step, but I feel confident because we have to be. In the football world, you have to feel confident about yourself, but I’m looking to play in this league and I can’t wait to start.”

Albert Sambi Lokonga has signed for Arsenal from Anderlecht in a deal initially worth £15 million
Albert Sambi Lokonga has signed for Arsenal from Anderlecht in a deal initially worth £15 million

Lokonga arrives having been highly rated in Belgium
Lokonga arrives having been highly rated in Belgium

On whether he prefers operating in a more attacking role like Ceballos and Odegaard or Xhaka’s deeper position, Lokonga said: “I can play both.

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“I can play as a six and I can play like a box to box, but people say that I’m better in the six position.”

Arteta himself explained: “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 to Anderlecht in recent seasons.

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The Spaniard added: “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.”

Upon his departure from his club of 12 years, Lokonga told Anderlecht supporters via their website: “I’m making a move from one big club to another. I am proud of this new step, but also sad that I am leaving RSCA.

“I want to thank you for all the love I have always received here. I am a mauve for life.”

Edu, Technical director at the Emirates, noted: “We are delighted Albert has signed with us, as there was a lot of interest in him and he was a big target for us.

“Albert is a player we’ve been tracking for some time, and he will bring us strength in depth in the centre of midfield.”

“We look forward to his continued development with us.”

Lokonga will link up with his new Gunners team-mates once he completes his isolation period upon entering the UK and could soon be followed by another young hotshot in the form of England defender Ben White.

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Brighton & Hove Albion have accepted a bid of £50m and a medical date for the 23-year-old has been set.

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