Arsenal have completed a £17million deal to land Anderlecht midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga.
The 21-year-old has put pen to paper on a long-term contract and becomes the Gunners’ second signing of the summer transfer window following the recent £8m arrival of Benfica left-back Nuno Tavares, 21.
Sambi Lokonga is regarded as one of the most promising young midfielders in European football and wore the captain’s armband at Anderlecht last season despite his tender age, having risen through the club’s academy.
The Belgian underwent a medical with Arsenal last Friday and will wear the No.23 shirt in north London.
Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu have been keen to strengthen Arsenal’s midfield options for the forthcoming campaign and Sambi Lokonga was quickly placed on their shortlist of targets, with Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard both returning to Real Madrid.
Meanwhile, Matteo Guendouzi left to sign for Marseille on a temporary basis last week and Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira look set for permanent moves away from the Emirates this summer.
It’s understood legendary ex-Arsenal striker Thierry Henry – who rejoined Belgium’s coaching staff for the European Championships – personally recommended Sambi Lokonga to his former team after witnessing the youngster’s talents first hand.
The Belgium Under-21 international broke into Anderlecht’s first-team back in 2017 and went on to make 69 appearances for his boyhood club before leaving for the bright lights of the Premier League.