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‘It’s a big step’ – DR Congo prospect Lokonga on Arsenal move

Goal logo Goal 19/07/2021 Shina Oludare

Albert Lokonga has expressed his eagerness to play in the Premier League after making the "big step" with a move to Arsenal.

The 21-year-old completed his move to the Gunners from Belgian top-flight side Anderlecht for £18 million ($25m) on Monday.

The Emirates Stadium giants saw off competition from Italian teams to land the promising midfielder who remains eligible to represent DR Congo at international level.

Lokonga may have had to deal with swapping countries at a tender age, however, he stated he will do all it takes to fulfil his potential in the English elite division.

“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,” he told Arsenal Media.

“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.”

Thanks to this move, the former Belgium youth international becomes the eighth player of African descent in Mikel Arteta’s squad after Thomas Partey (Ghana), Bukayo Saka (Nigeria), Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Gabon), Nicolas Pepe (Cote d'Ivoire), Mohamed Elneny (Egypt), Eddie Nketiah (Ghana), Folarin Balogun (Nigeria), and Arthur Okonkwo (Nigeria).

Having been handed jersey No 23, he took part in Monday’s training session with his new teammates for the first time. Also, he is expected to be a part of the squad for their pre-season trip to the United States of America.

Following Matteo Guendouzi’s move to Olympique Marseille and Dani Ceballos' return to La Liga giants Real Madrid, the youngster is expected to provide a lot of options in Mikel Arteta's side's midfield.

When asked if he prefers box to box or a more attacking role, Lokonga said: “I can play both.

“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.”

He also talked about his experience working with Arsenal great Thierry Henry at the Belgian national team.

“It's very great, very great,” he added.

"It was really great [to work with him in the Belgian national team]. A great experience because in the few times I was with him on the pitch I learnt a lot, so it was a really great experience.

“I think it's a good thing for me because Thierry Henry was a legend over here."

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