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Arsenal’s new signing Sambi Lokonga is ‘a natural leader’, says Anderlecht chief after £17m move

Arsenal’s new signing Albert Sambi Lokonga is ‘a natural leader’, says Anderlecht chief Peter Verbeke as he tips the £17million Belgian midfielder to shine in the Premier League and adapt quickly like Romelu Lukaku and Youri Tielemans

  • Arsenal made a second signing of the season in Sambi Lokonga. from Anderlecht
  • His former club’s sporting director believes the Gunners have a ‘natural leader’
  • Peter Verbeke says he was one of the top talents to come out of their academy
  • He believes the £17million midfielder will have no trouble adjusting to English football

Arsenal have a ‘natural leader’ in the selection after they took over Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht, according to the sporting director of the Belgian club.

The Gunners made their second signing of the summer after spending £17million on the defensive midfielder, who captained Anderlecht in the last campaign, following full-back Nuno Tavares.

Head coach Mikel Arteta hopes to revamp his squad to ensure the team once again compete for a top four place, and Peter Verbeke – who approved Lokonga’s move to the Emirates – insists Arsenal are one of their ‘top talents’. ‘ who leads by example .

New Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga tipped to thrive in the Emirates E

Anderlecht chief Peter Verbeke called him a 'natural leader' after his £17 million transfer transfer

Anderlecht chief Peter Verbeke called him a ‘natural leader’ after his £17 million transfer transfer

“Sambi is of course a very good player,” he told Sky Sports News.

‘He is one of the top talents from our academy. He can play as a defensive midfielder, but also as a box-to-box player. He has developed very well, especially in the last two seasons with the club.

‘Sambi is someone who is good on the ball. His technical ability in tight spaces is really good, good short and long passes.

‘Sambi was of course the captain of the club of a very young Anderlecht.

“He was still a natural captain and leader on and off the field, and I would say he is really open-minded.

Lokonga was the captain of Anderlecht last season at the age of 21 in his fourth professional season

Lokonga was the captain of Anderlecht last season at the age of 21 in his fourth professional season

The defensive midfielder is versatile, offering both technical ability and leadership

The defensive midfielder is versatile, offering both technical ability and leadership

Adjusting to life in the Premier League can be difficult for any player, but according to Verbeke, Anderlecht’s training prepares their players for football at the highest level and gave him the tip to succeed, just like the scholars Romelu Lukaku and Youri. Tielemans in the highest class.

“I think he will get used to a new club very well because his technical skills are so good, I don’t think there will be any adjustment problems,” he added.

“Of course the Premier League is of a higher level than the Belgian league, but the guys who have developed at Anderlecht, such as Youri Tielemans and Romelu Lukaku, I think are well established because they have received a good education at the academy of Anderlecht.

“So I expect Sambi to do the same.”

The Belgium Under-21 international broke through with Anderlecht in the First Division A, making his debut in December 2017 and playing 37 times in all competitions last season, scoring three goals.

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised his new signing as 'very intelligent' with 'great maturity'

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta praised his new signing as ‘very intelligent’ with ‘great maturity’

The 21-year-old will wear the number 23 shirt at Arsenal and has been described by boss Arteta as ‘intelligent and mature’.

Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity in his achievements throughout his development. He was well coached 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 on Anderlecht over the past few seasons.

“We are confident that Albert is ready for the next stage in his development and we look forward to welcoming a new member to our squad with his quality and presence.”

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