Albert Sambi Lokonga has hinted that he really wanted a different shirt number at Arsenal, following his first friendly appearance for the club.

Albert Sambi Lokonga in training with Arsenal (Photo via
Albert Sambi Lokonga in training with Arsenal (Photo via

Arsenal completed the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga last week, handing him a four-year deal with an option to extend to 2026. They also gave him the number 23 shirt, which he wore on his pre-season debut against Millwall.

But in his post-match Instagram update, Sambi Lokonga suggested he really wanted the number 48, writing: “48 in the heart, 23 on the back!”

Ahead of the signing, reports from Belgium suggested Sambi Lokonga would get the number 48, just as he did at Anderlecht. But we pointed out that was unlikely, due to Arsenal’s shirt number policy.

Arsenal normally only allow senior players to take numbers 1-35, before assigning the numbers after that to youth players in alphabetical order. We had the same issue with Alex Iwobi wanting to stick with 45 after breaking into the first team.

As with Iwobi, it seems Arsenal put their foot down and insisted Sambi Lokonga take a senior number. 48 will instead be worn by young goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk, as per the u23 senior shirt number list you can peruse here.

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Arsenal fan since a young age, now a season ticket holder who enjoys writing, tweeting and making videos about the Gunners.