It took a few weeks, but Arsenal have finally started to kick their transfer business into high gear, as the Gunners announced the signing of left back Nuno Tavares from Benfica earlier today. Not long after, ITK transfer guru Fabrizio Romano reported that Arsenal have completed the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht after weeks of speculation. Following a brief quarantine, the club is expected to announce the transfer, which will last through 2026 to the tune of €17.5m plus add-ons.
Paperworks completed between Arsenal and Anderlecht for Lokonga. Contract until June 2026, €17.5m as opening fee + add ons. Official after quarantine period for Belgian midfielder. #AFC— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 10, 2021
Here we go confirmed - Lokonga turned down two proposals from Italy to join Arsenal.
As we profiled earlier, Lokonga looks to be an understudy for Thomas Partey as a deep-lying holding midfielder. With Granit Xhaka all but on his way to Italy, the need for a second CDM has become a priority. While he will be far from a starter, what Lokonga lacks in age and experience, he makes up for in upside.
The leap from the Belgian First Division to the Premier League is a big one, but Lokonga’s athleticism should ease the adjustment to a new league, especially in the early stages of the FA Cup and EFL cup. I wouldn’t expect to see much of him early on, but I also wouldn’t expect him to be relegated to the bench for long stretches.
With so much riding on this transfer window, it’s nice to see Arsenal secure two quality depth players at positions of need - LB in Tavares and CDM in Lokonga. But that doesn’t mask the fact that the Gunners have other pressings needs and a ton of ground to cover if they don’t want to be left in the dust by rivals like Chelsea and Manchester United, who continue to dig deep to fork over obscene amounts of cash to buy premium players.
For now, though, it appears that Arsenal have made a second shrewd transfer this week, which is certifiably a good thing. The pre-season is days away, so that means the clock is ticking on acclimating new transfers into the side. Expect things to pick up in the coming weeks as The Gunners looks to fortify their squad ahead of the new season.