Yannick Bolasie has given his endorsement to former teammate and new Arsenal signing Albert Sambi Lokonga after the latter’s move to England.
Earlier this week, Arsenal confirmed their second signing of the summer transfer window, Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht.
Former Crystal Palace and Everton winger Yannick Bolasie had a vested interest in the transfer, being an Arsenal fan and having played for Anderlecht on loan in 2019. He says he’d already heard a lot about Sambi Lokonga before this summer.
“(He was) the one player who everyone kept telling me about when I was at Anderlecht,” Bolasie wrote on Twitter. “Quality baller & defo gonna be a great signing, looking forward to seeing him at the carpet!”
Bolasie was responding to quotes from Anderlecht sporting director Peter Verbeke, who was similarly complimentary of the departing midfielder.
“Sambi is of course a very good player,” Verbeke said. “He’s one of the top talents coming from our academy.
“He can play as a defensive midfield player, he can play as a box-to-box player and, especially the last two seasons at the club, he has developed really well.
“He’s someone who is good on the ball, his technical ability in tight spaces is really good. Good short passing, good long passing. He’s always been a late developer so it’s only in the last season that his physical development really came into place.
“It means now he has the qualities to be able to recover more balls, he’s better in duels and that’s why I think he could develop in a role as a defensive midfielder for Arsenal in years to come.”
Arsenal’s new midfielder will wear “Sambi” on his shirt and the number 23, contrary to earlier rumours about the number 48. His agency have confirmed he’s signed a four-year deal, with Chris Wheatley adding that there’s a one-year option to extend to 2026.
The 21-year-old has gone straight into pre-season training with Arsenal, having completed his self-isolation period in London before signing.