Former Crystal Palace and Everton winger Yannick Bolasie has described latest Arsenal recruit Albert Sambi Lokonga as a “quality baller” and is tipping him to shine at the Emirates Stadium.
Sambi Lokonga, who is a defensive-midfielder, joined the Gunners on a four-year contract on Monday, after Arsenal successfully agreed a £18million fee with Anderlecht.
The 21-year-old, who is one of two players that Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has added to his first-team squad this summer so far, made his first outing for the club during today’s behind-closed-doors pre-season friendly win over Championship side Millwall.
Whether or not he will cement himself as a key fixture within Arteta’s preferred starting line-up this season remains to be seen, but Bolasie, who spent half of the 2018/19 season on loan at Anderlecht, is backing the youngster to make his mark.
“(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!”
Sambi Lokonga has arrived in north London as a star for the future, but the prospect of him featuring regularly in the early stages of the season is very much possible, particularly if the club fails to draft in another midfielder before the start of the campaign.
Bolasie is not the only figure to have back the Gunners’ newest addition to make a name for himself at the Emirates Stadium, with Anderlecht director Peter Verbeke also feeling confident that Sambi Lokonga can prove his weight in gold in England.
“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.”
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