New Arsenal signing Albert Sambi Lokonga has already told Mikel Arteta his best position after completing his transfer to the Emirates.
The exciting Belgian has been one of his country’s hottest prospects since breaking through with Anderlecht as a teenager, with the Gunners hierarchy having to shell out reported £15 million to acquire the 21-year-old.
Lokonga is a central midfielder and a young leader, having captained Vincent Kompany’s side to a fourth-place finish in the Juliper Pro League last season, making 27 appearances.
Arsenal are set to lose three central midfielders this summer, with Dani Ceballos and Martin Odegaard returning to Real Madrid and Grant Xhaka set to join Jose Mourinho’s Roma.
With Joe Willock’s potential permanent move to Newcastle on the cards too, Arteta will be looking to through Lokonga in at the deep end at the start of the new term and the Belgium youth international has already informed his boss where he likes playing most.
“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 firstly told the Gunners’ website.
“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.”
On whether he prefers operating in a more attacking role like Ceballos and Odegaard or Xhaka’s deeper position, 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.”
Arteta himself explained: “Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity in his performances during his development.
“He has been coached well by Vincent Kompany and his team at Anderlecht.
“I know Vincent very well and he talks so highly about Albert and the positive impact he had to Anderlecht in recent seasons.
The Spaniard added: “We’re confident Albert’s ready for the next stage in his development and we’re looking forward to welcoming a new member to our squad with his quality and presence.”
Upon his departure from his club of 12 years, Lokonga told Anderlecht supporters via their website: “I’m making a move from one big club to another. I am proud of this new step, but also sad that I am leaving RSCA.
“I want to thank you for all the love I have always received here. I am a mauve for life.”
Tokyo Olympics: All Nigeria’s table tennis reps knocked out
Africa’s highest-ranked player Quadri Aruna on Tuesday crashed out of the men’s singles event of the table tennis competition at the ongoing Olympic Games in Tokyo.
Aruna who reached the quarter-finals of the event at the Rio Games in 2016 could not go far this time around as he lost 2-4 in the third round.
He lost to Brazil’s Gustavo Tsuboi at the Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium 15-13 9-11 6-11 11-7 7-11 6-11.
His exit has brought a sad end to Team Nigeria’s campaign in the sport at this Games.
His three teammates in the sport —— Funke Oshonaike, Offiong Edem, Olajide Omotayo —- have all been eliminated.
Nigeria did not qualify for the doubles events.
John Terry leaves Aston Villa, reveals next plan
Aston Villa assistant coach, John Terry, has announced his departure from the club.
Terry, in a statement via Aston Villa’s official website on Monday, also revealed his next plan.
The Chelsea legend had since been linked with vacancies at Bristol City and West Brom United.
Terry’s statement read in part, “It has been a tremendous honour and privilege to have spent these last three years at Aston Villa, but I feel now is the right time to make the extremely difficult decision to move on.
“My immediate plan is to spend some quality time with my family and, thereafter, hopefully, take up some invitations to visit clubs and managers around Europe to develop my aim and objective of becoming a manager.
“I’ll forever be indebted to the gaffer for giving me the opportunity to start my coaching career at such a wonderful club.
“Finally, I would also like to thank all the players and staff and wish them all the very best for the season ahead and say a huge thank you to the wonderful Aston Villa fans for their support.”
Solskjaer opens up on Pogba rejecting new Man United contract to join PSG
Manchester United boss, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has opened up on midfielder, Paul Pogba rejecting a new contract at the club in a bid to join Paris Saint-Germain.
Solskjaer also expressed confidence that Pogba will be part of his Man United squad next season.
He said this while reacting to reports that the France international has rejected a new deal at the club because he wants to join PSG.
Pogba, whose current deal with Man United will expire next summer, has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford to join PSG.
But Solskjaer has now described the report as ‘speculations’.
Asked if Pogba has rejected a contract and whether Man United will need to sell him, Solskjaer told reporters following the Red Devils’ pre-season 4-2 defeat against QPR on Saturday: “There are always speculations about Paul.
“The talks between the club and Paul’s representatives, I am not in the detail of every single one of them, so I have got nothing to say really about that.
Asked further on PSG’s interest in Pogba, Solskjaer continued: “There’s always speculation about Paul and there’s always clubs being interested.
“Of course, we have seen Paul at his best and Paul knows what we feel about it. And of course, I have enjoyed my time working with him and hopefully, we can work together. Let’s see what happens.”
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