When will Sambi Lokonga sign for Arsenal?

Robin Bairner
New Arsenal signing Albert Sambi Lokonga playing for Anderlecht

Albert Sambi Lokonga will become Arsenal’s first signing of the 2021 summer transfer window when he arrives at the club from Anderlecht.

Much of the deal is already in place, with Arsenal set to pay €17.5 million for the Belgium Under-21 midfielder, while another €3.5m could follow in bonus payments.

It has been widely reported that a five-year deal has been agreed, meaning that Sambi Lokonga will be under contract with Arsenal until 2026.

The conclusion of the transfer is, therefore, just around the corner.

Indeed, freelance Belgian journalist Sven Claes reports that Sambi Lokonga has long agreed personal terms with the Gunners and that negotiations between the clubs were all that were stalling the transfers.

A breakthrough, however, has been made and Sambi Lokonga will undergo his medical on Friday before joining up with his new team-mates for a pre-season training camp in Scotland. This means that an official announcement should be expected either later on Friday or on Saturday.

This has been brewing for several days as SudPresse reported on Monday that he was going to miss Anderlecht’s training camp in Alkmaar in order to focus on getting the transfer done.

A quick deal is in Anderlecht’s interests as the club have been ailing financially, though losing the man who often wore the captain’s armband last season in the absence of Hendrik Van Crombrugge is clearly a blow.

When will Sambi Lokonga make his Arsenal debut?

Assuming that the deal is polished off over the weekend as anticipated, the 20-year-old Sambi Lokonga will likely make his Arsenal debut in one of two friendlies that the Gunners have prepared in Scotland.

The first of those will see them tackle Hibernian on 13 July, just one day after Lokonga has likely met his new colleagues, while the latter of those games comes against Scottish champions Rangers on 17 July.

Meanwhile, the Premier League season begins on 13 August, with Arsenal facing a short trip across London to face Brentford – a match in which Sambi Lokonga, who has been monitored by Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez, will be hoping to make his competitive debut for the club.