Arsenal recently announced the signing of Albert Sambi Lokonga from Anderlecht and Fabrizio Romano has revealed what Edu and co really think about the Belgian midfielder.
The Gunners forked out an initial fee of £15 million (Independent) for Lokonga, who was a real star in the Belgian top-flight last season. He is very highly rated by people who have followed him, and some believe that Arsenal have unearthed a real gem here.
Lokonga is expected to be an understudy to Thomas Partey next season. He won’t start every game, but if Romano is to be believed, Arsenal think he’ll become an integral part of the side in just two or three years time.
Romano: Arsenal think Sambi Lokonga will be worth £51m by 2024
Romano was asked about Lokonga and he thinks that Arsenal have signed a really special player. He has claimed that people at the Emirates are fully convinced that the Belgian’s value will quadruple in the next two or three years.
He said on The Arsenal Lounge: “We have to recognise that, for example, signing a player like Lokonga for €17 million (£15m) is a great deal from Arsenal. If you wanted to sign him in a normal market and not in a post-COVID market, you’d have to pay around €30 million or €35 million (£25m or £30m). Paying €17 million was good business.
“(Serie A side) Atalanta were looking at him. I was speaking to the sporting directors of Atalanta, and they told me he’s really special because, in football now, players are not always looking at football.
“Lokonga (on the other hand) is living for football. He’s always 100% focused and fighting for the team. This is really appreciated. Arsenal are convinced that in two or three years he could be worth €50 million or €60 million (£42m or £51m). This is the feeling around the club.”
The Insider’s View:
Arsenal were desperate to complete this deal for over a month and Romano’s comments suggest why. We all know Lokonga is a hugely talented player, but he’ll have to be amazing for us if his value has to quadruple in three years time.
Read more: Romano says Arsenal chose Ben White for now, but will ‘continue keeping tabs’ on £68.5m defender
It will be interesting to see how the young Belgian fares against the top Premier League sides. It won’t be right to expect him to become a superstar from day one, but if he can hold his own against the best players in the country, our midfield would be sorted for the better part of the next decade.