Who is Albert Sambi Lokonga? The Belgian wonderkid on the verge of Arsenal move
Albert Sambi Lokonga is set to become Arsenal's first signing of the summer, with the Gunners having identified the Anderlecht midfielder as an ideal player to bolster their playing staff.
Sambi Lokonga is under contract until 2024 with the Belgian side, but the Gunners have reportedly agreed a deal worth €17.5 milllion in terms of an up-front fee, with another €3.5m potentially following in bonuses.
Sky Italia report that the central midfielder is poised to sign a five-year deal with the club.
With the Belgian midfielder looking set on a move to the Emirates, what do Arsenal fans need to know?
What position does Albert Sambi Lokonga play?
Sambi Lokonga is a central midfielder, capable of playing as a No.6, or a box-to-box No.8.
He is perhaps best when playing in a double pivot, with the extra protection of a fellow defensive midfielder ensuring he is able to drive forward with the ball, using his immense physical attributes.
However, at such a young age, he could be moulded into whatever midfield role is most in need. For Arsenal, it is in defensive midfield with Xhaka looking set on a move away.
How old is Albert Sambi Lokonga?
Lokonga was born on 22 October 1999, which makes him 21 years of age.
How good is Albert Sambi Lokonga?
Having played solely in the Belgian top flight so far in his career, it's hard to tell just how good Sambi Lokonga is. However, the early signs are extremely promising.
His pass completion rate last season was at 86%, and he was making 19.1 final third passes per 90, alongside making 3.5 tackles and interceptions per 90.
He has the technical ability to match his physical traits, and when he begins to drive forward with the ball, it's incredibly difficult to stop.
His 2020/21 form was rewarded with a first senior international call-up earlier this year, and he was included in Roberto Martinez's standby list for the European Championship.
He may need a year or two to fully develop, but from raw potential, he looks good.
Anderlecht coach Vincent Kompany, a former team-mate of Arteta's, was full of praise for the youngster.
"With his qualities at his age, he stands out for me,” Kompany said. “Will Sambi win his duels? Is he improving his defensive work?
"You ask yourself these questions as a coach. Well, I’ve seen him make a lot of progress in that area."
Which clubs are interested in Albert Sambi Lokonga?
At the moment it appears that only Arsenal have expressed an interest in the player. The Gunners look set to sign the youngster this summer, but will need to improve their offer otherwise Anderlecht won't sell.
The deal to Arsenal is even more certain as Lokonga's agent is a lawyer who used to work at the same law firm as Arsenal executive director Tim Lewis.
Arsenal will need to make an £18m offer to turn Anderlecht's heads. If they don't cough up the cash, other clubs may start circling.
What is Albert Sambi Lokonga's Instagram?
Sambi Lokonga's Instagram account has 21.8k followers as of June, 2021.
Who is Albert Sambi Lokonga's girlfriend?
Sambi Lokonga is not dating anyone publicly.