Arsenal have completed the transfer of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht for a fee believed to be worth in the region of £18million.
The highly rated Belgian midfielder was a key player for Vincent Kompany’s side last season making 37 appearances and captaining them on 26 occasions despite being just 21-years-of-age.
He becomes the Gunners second acquisition of the summer after the £7million signing of Portuguese left back Nuno Tavares from Benfica was confirmed last week.
The news comes after Matteo Guendouzi was able to secure a loan to Marseille with a view to a permanent transfer, while several other Arsenal midfielders are being linked with exits.
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Dani Ceballos has already returned to Real Madrid after the end of his loan spell, while football.london understands that Granit Xhaka is close to securing a switch to Roma.
Lucas Torreira is also available for transfer while Ainsley Maitland-Niles admitted that he would be open to a move away from North London as the Gunners seek to overhaul their midfield and Joe Willock is being heavily linked with Newcastle.
This is likely to create plenty of playing opportunities for Lokonga who is capable of playing either as a number six or a number eight and is expected to compete for a starting spot alongside Thomas Partey in the middle of the park at the Emirates next season.
Technical director Edu said revealed that Arsenal had been tracking the Belgian for a while now and that he was delighted to get the deal over the line.
“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,” he said to Arsenal.com.
“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.”
Mikel Arteta added that his own personal relationship with Vincent Kompany had played a role in getting the deal over the line.
“Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity in his performances during his development,” he said.
“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.
“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 signing does not mean that Arsenal’s central midfield recruitment for the summer is done however.
The Gunners are still in the market for a more experienced player to replace Xhaka, with Wolves’ Ruben Neves, Sassuolo’s Manuel Locatelli and Yves Bissouma of Brighton among the names to have been linked.