Albert Sambi Lokonga says he’s capable of playing in any midfield position for Arsenal – but suggests he may be at his best as a ‘number six’.
The Gunners finally completed their long-running pursuit of the 21-year-old on Monday, arriving from Anderlecht for a fee in the region of £15m.
He comes very highly rated and adds some much-needed reinforcement to Mikel Arteta’s engine room amid speculation over Granit Xhaka’s future.
But there has been much debate over where his best position actually is. He played as both a six and an eight throughout his time at Anderlecht and in the Belgium youth teams, though manager Vincent Kompany had previously admitted he has to improve defensively if he is to become a holding midfielder.
Lokonga, however, reckons this view doesn’t hold with what he has been told previously. Speaking to the Arsenal website after his arrival, he said he is capable in both positions, but has been told that he is at his best when sitting between the lines.
“I can play both,” he said. “I can play as a six and I can play like a box to box, but people say that I’m better in the six position.”
Lokonga joins Arsenal after a decade coming through the ranks at Anderlecht, making 78 appearances for the first-team at his boyhood club. He won’t be fazed by the step up to the Premier League, however, saying that he feels confident about his ability to hit the ground running in England.
“It’s a big move because I have been playing for Anderlecht for 10 years so it’s going to be my first big move to another country.
“It’s a big step, but I feel confident because we have to be. In the football world, you have to feel confident about yourself, but I’m looking to play in this league and I can’t wait to start.”