Albert Sambi Lokonga is officially an Arsenal player!
The Belgian midfielder became our second signing of the summer on Monday when he penned a long-term deal with the club.
We sat down with the midfielder at London Colney to discuss the move, Thierry Henry, playing in the Premier League and more.
Click the 'Play' button above to watch the interview, and there's a full transcript below:
Albert, welcome to Arsenal! How does it feel signing for Arsenal?
I'm really happy because it was very long. So yeah, I'm happy to be close to the end.
Oh man, obviously this must be very very big for you. You've moved from Belgium to London, what's it like moving at a young age to this country?
Yeah, 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.
How do you feel about playing in the Premier League? The Premier League is a big league. It must be a big step up for you, so how do you feel about that?
Yeah, it's a big step, but I feel confident because we have to. 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 the league.
How did you first hear about Arsenal's interest in bringing you here?
I heard about this, I think two games I had a hand with the president of the club. He told me about the interest of Arsenal. My lawyer also told me about the interest of Arsenal and I didn't hesitate one second. I told them that yeah, excuse me, but I will go there!
How did you feel when you've basically gone along and thought, ‘OK is it going to happen, is it not going to happen?’
This was difficult because everybody was congratulating me, so yeah. I was home, I was telling them the deal is not done yet so we have to wait. I was training in my corner, I was calm with my family, with my lawyer and I have to thank the coach and Edu because they really wanted me to be here so I'm happy for this.
Speaking about Edu and Mikel, of course, there is a youth project here that we're trying to do. What influence did Mikel and Edu have in bringing you here to Arsenal?
The influence, I know that they want to play with a lot of young guys. I know Arsenal have a good academy and in Anderlecht, we also have a good academy. A lot of young players with a lot of talent so for me I think it's not going to change a lot.
OK, that's sick! To be honest, I know there's a lot of rumours that our King, the King, Thierry Henry, he recommended you to the Arsenal. That's our King TT, yeah? What does it feel like being recommended by a legend, an Arsenal legend like Thierry Henry?
It's very great, very great. I think it's a good thing for me because Thierry Henry was a legend over here but I don't know if it's really true because I didn't speak to him about the interest of Arsenal, but if he does, then it's a great thing for me.
Yeah, that's good. Of course, you went to the national team and you saw Thierry Henry train and how he trained it. It must have been good to get trained by an Arsenal legend and now you're like OK, now I'm going to play for Arsenal. That must have been really, really great?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, it was really great. 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.
So finally, when you get out at the Emirates, what can the fans expect from you?
I prefer people to judge me. I don't like to speak about myself.
OK, I don't talk too much!
Yeah, but I can't wait to be at the stadium, to be with my team-mates, to play in Emirates Stadium. I can't wait.
What kind of position do you think you'll play? Are you like a box-to-box or an attacking midfielder? Where would you put yourself?
I can play both. I can play both, I can play as a six and I can play like a box to box, but yeah, people say that I’m better in the six position.
What do you want the Arsenal fans to refer to you as? Do you want Sambi? Albert? First-name basis!
First, my full name is Albert-Mboyo Sambi Lokonga.
Lokonga! Yeah, yeah, but what would you want?
People call me Sambi, most of the time people call me Sambi.
Okay, and that’s the one that you prefer?
Yeah, yeah, it’s fine. Sambi or Albert, but yeah, you can call me Sambi, it’s fine.
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