Arsenal have agreed a deal to sign Albert Sambi Lokonga, so who is he, how long will they sign him for and what will he earn?
Arsenal have been linked with a move for Albert Sambi Lokonga since the start of June, when they were said to be ‘intensely’ interested in the 21-year-old captain of Anderlecht, but it seems they’ve been working on the deal for around six months.
Two days later, it was reported that Arsenal’s second bid was about to land at Anderlecht. Three days after that, it was being claimed that Arsenal are expected to sign Sambi, a player they’ve actually been tracking since 2019.
- Albert Sambi Lokonga fee
- Albert Sambi Lokonga shirt number
- Albert Sambi Lokonga injury history
- Albert Sambi Lokonga contract length
- Albert Sambi Lokonga wages
- Thierry Henry and Albert Sambi Lokonga
Who is Albert Sambi Lokonga?
Albert Sambi Lokonga, known as ‘Sambi’ on his shirt, Lokonga in the British press and Sambi Lokonga in the Belgian, is a 21-year-old Belgian central midfielder who plays for, and captains, Anderlecht in the Jupiler Pro League in his home country.
Will Arsenal really sign Albert Sambi Lokonga?
Speaking to Terry Flewers’ on The Football Terrace, HLN’s Kristof Terreur gave an update on his view of Albert Sambi Lokonga’s potential move from Anderlecht to Arsenal, and it all seems pretty positive.
Terreur was the one to break the news of Arsenal’s initial bid for Sambi Lokonga in the first place. Now, the media in Belgium report the deal as agreed.
There is, with any deal, the chance that it could all collapse and then we all look like chumps. But as things stand, it looks like this deal looks like it’s done.
You can hear Terreur talk more about the player in the video at the bottom of this post.
How much will Albert Sambi Lokonga cost?
Any Arsenal deal for Sambi Lokonga was said to cost between €15m and €20m. Arsenal had a bid of €15m turned down and Anderlecht were said to be looking for €20m.
It seems a fee of €17.5m has been agreed with add-ons that could take it up to €22m.
Albert Sambi Lokonga is currently valued at around £10.8m, which is €12.5m.
What Arsenal shirt number could Albert Sambi Lokonga get?
There are quite a number of first-team shirt numbers available at Arsenal with more likely to free up as we see players leave the club. Thomas Partey recently got a new number as will Emile Smith Rowe, when he finally signs his new contract, but that still leaves quite a few for Sambi Lokonga to pick from.
At Anderlecht, Sambi Lokonga wears the 48 and has done for more seasons than any other number. In fact, it’s the only number he’s worn for the Anderlecht first team, taking the 6 and 12 when playing for their u19 side.
Is Albert Sambi Lokonga injury-prone?
Arsenal and injuries go together like Jose Mourinho and a face like a slapped arse, so it’s natural to wonder how much time any new signings could be spending in the treatment room.
Although he suffered a cruciate ligament rupture in December 2018 that kept him out of action for 206 days, Sambi Lokonga hasn’t really had any problems since. In fact, he’s missed just eight games through injury since his return in July 2019 – four as he got back to fitness following his knee injury and another four with adductor issues in January this year, although those games came over the course of just two weeks.
How long would Albert Sambi Lokonga’s Arsenal contract be?
Should Sambi Lokonga sign for Arsenal as expected, his Arsenal contract length will most likely be five years, taking him to 2026.
Although it’s not clear at the time of writing exactly how long any deal on offer is, given Sambi Lokonga’s age and recent moves Arsenal have made in terms of new contracts, five years seems about right.
That’s how long Kieran Tierney’s new contract is said to be for and, when Arsenal signed Gabriel he was also given a five year deal, as was Thomas Partey, Nicolas Pepe, and Gabriel Martinelli.
Older players, however, were given four year deals like Cedric Soares, Alex Runarsson, and Pablo Mari. Those over 30 were handed a three-year-deal, including Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when he renewed.
Judging by recent deals, Arsenal seem to structure their contract offers (with obvious room for exceptions):
- Under 25 – 5 years
- 25 – 29 – 4 years
- 30+ – 3 years
How much would Arsenal pay Albert Sambi Lokonga?
Arsenal are trying to get better control of their wage bill but it’s safe to say that Sambi Lokonga would enjoy a handsome increase in his salary compared to what he is earning in Belgium, such is the nature of Premier League football.
Again, Gabriel might give us an indication of how much Sambi Lokonga will likely get paid. When he was signed as a 22-year-old he was given a wage of £34kpw (£1.8m-per-year).
Thierry Henry and Albert Sambi Lokonga
Thierry Henry has reportedly been working behind the scenes to convince Sambi Lokonga to join Mikel Arteta at Arsenal. Henry, of course, works as a coach for the Belgian national team.
Sambi Lokonga made 37 appearances for Anderlecht this season, as well as a few for the Belgium u21s. His performances earned him a senior Belgium call-up, but he was the unlucky ’27th man’ at Euro 2020, narrowly missing out on the squad.