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Premier League • England

Arsenal summer signing sends Arteta message after assessing transfer choice

Albert Sambi Lokonga playing for Arsenal

Albert Sambi Lokonga already feels his decision to join Arsenal in the summer has been justified – but he also had a clear message for manager Mikel Arteta.

Lokonga joined Arsenal from Anderlecht back in July. He became the latest signing to help Arsenal’s efforts to evolve their midfield. They have made several changes to that department of their squad in recent years.

They will be hoping Lokonga can give them more stability in that regard. He has earned Arteta’s trust so far, making seven starts in the Premier League and a further three substitute appearances.

It seems the Belgian international is putting the foundations in place for a long-term career at the Emirates Stadium. Arsenal have him under contract until 2026.

Lokonga will be confident of making that spell a success given the quick start he has made to life in north London. He has now admitted that he is already playing more than he would have expected.

Even so, he is happy to hear he is a good fit for Arteta’s style and has already realised joining Arsenal was the right choice.

Lokonga told RTBF, in quotes carried in English by Sport Witness: “Yes, it’s gone a bit quicker than anticipated, but I was well prepared on physically, mentally and on a football level.

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“I don’t want to say that I had the required qualities but apparently they suit the manager?

“I’m fighting for my spot, I play games and I’m getting minutes. I’m very happy. I made the right choice, but I already knew that.”

Lokonga out to impress Arteta

At the age of 22, Lokonga still has the potential to grow. Under the guidance of Arteta, he feels ready to meet those higher levels.

He added: “The manager speaks to me a lot, I like that, but he doesn’t let me rest.

“I was told that he’d said that my integration and my performances impressed him. Good, but next year, he’ll see an even better Sambi!”

For now, there is plenty more for Lokonga to focus on this season as Arsenal aim to get back among contention to finish in the European places.

Arsenal are fifth in the Premier League table after 11 games of the season. There is a long way to go, though, before they can ensure they better last year’s eighth-place finish.

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