New Manchester City signing Sergio Gomez highlighted the key role club legend Vincent Kompany played in shaping his career and recent move to the Etihad Stadium.

Gomez joined City from Anderlecht for a reported fee of £11million (€13m) on Tuesday to become Pep Guardiola's fourth signing of the transfer window after Kalvin Phillips, Erling Haaland and Stefan Ortega.

The left-back was instrumental for the Belgian side under Kompany last season, racking up 49 appearances and registering 15 assists along the way.

Kompany enjoyed a hugely successful spell with City between 2008 and 2019, winning 12 trophies, including four Premier League titles and two FA Cups.

And Gomez, who spent his youth career with Barcelona before a stint at Borussia Dortmund, received the former skipper's blessing before completing his move to the Etihad.

"I talked to [Kompany] a few days ago when I knew about City's interest in signing me," the 21-year-old told the club's official website.

"He was very happy for me; he told me this would be a huge step in my career and that I was making the right decision by coming here.

"It's a big step for me. I'm really happy that [City] showed interest in signing me, and I'm going to give my best to show on the pitch that I deserve to be here, and I hope we can achieve big things together.

"I think I've grown in every step of my career, I hope to continue doing so here at City. I'm here to learn and help this team as much as I can."

Previously a wide or central midfielder, Gomez also spoke about how he has not looked back since Kompany converted him into a left-back at Anderlecht last term. 

"He called me and said I could do very well in that position," the Spain Under-21 international continued.

"To be honest, I was a little bit surprised, I didn't expect it, but he seemed very sure about the decision, and that gave me confidence.

"I will always be thankful to Vincent for the opportunity; I'm still playing as a left-back and I really enjoy it."

Manchester City have confirmed the signing of full-back Sergio Gomez on a four-year deal from Anderlecht.

The 21-year-old, formerly of Barcelona's youth set-up and Borussia Dortmund, worked with ex-City captain Vincent Kompany at the Belgian club and has joined for a reported fee of £11million.

Gomez is City's fourth acquisition of the transfer window, following on from the captures of Kalvin Phillips, Erling Haaland and Stefan Ortega.

"I am incredibly proud and happy to have joined Manchester City," he told the club's official website.

"City are the best team in England and in Pep Guardiola I have a chance to learn and develop under the most outstanding manager in world football.

"To be able to be part of this club is a dream come true for me and something any young player would aspire to.

"The number of trophies City have won over the past few years has been incredible and the style of football the team plays under Pep is the most exciting in Europe.

"Playing for and being guided by Pep and his coaches is going to be very special.

"I've heard so much about the City fans and how passionate they are, so I can't wait to get started and to try and help the Club achieve even more."

City have won their opening two Premier League fixtures against West Ham and Bournemouth, with Newcastle United next up on Sunday. 

Our new number 21 #ManCity pic.twitter.com/5oGXj5ZdUY

— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 16, 2022

Manchester City have confirmed the signing of full-back Sergio Gomez on a four-year deal from Anderlecht.

The 21-year-old, formerly of Barcelona's youth set-up and Borussia Dortmund, worked with ex-City captain Vincent Kompany at the Belgian club and has joined for a reported fee of £11million.

Gomez is City's fourth acquisition of the transfer window, following on from the captures of Kalvin Phillips, Erling Haaland and Stefan Ortega.

"I am incredibly proud and happy to have joined Manchester City," he told the club's official website.

"City are the best team in England and in Pep Guardiola I have a chance to learn and develop under the most outstanding manager in world football.

"To be able to be part of this club is a dream come true for me and something any young player would aspire to.

"The number of trophies City have won over the past few years has been incredible and the style of football the team plays under Pep is the most exciting in Europe.

"Playing for and being guided by Pep and his coaches is going to be very special.

"I've heard so much about the City fans and how passionate they are, so I can't wait to get started and to try and help the Club achieve even more."

City have won their opening two Premier League fixtures against West Ham and Bournemouth, with Newcastle United next up on Sunday. 

Our new number 21 #ManCity pic.twitter.com/5oGXj5ZdUY

— Manchester City (@ManCity) August 16, 2022

Pep Guardiola revealed Sergio Gomez will compete for a place in Manchester City's first team as he confirmed reports the Premier League champions are set to sign the young left-back.

City have reportedly agreed an £11million (€13m) deal to sign the 21-year-old Anderlecht player, having missed out on Marc Cucurella to Chelsea earlier this month.

Guardiola has been chasing another left-back to compete with Joao Cancelo since Oleksandr Zinchenko departed for Arsenal, with Atletico Madrid's Renan Lodi and Wolves' Rayan Ait-Nouri also touted as potential targets.

Although some have suggested Gomez represents a development project, with a loan move to Girona mooted, Guardiola is confident in his ability to contribute immediately.

"You know the club is always working on many possibilities and chances in all positions, and this one target is a young player," Guardiola said ahead of City's Premier League fixture against Bournemouth on Saturday. 

"In the [2017 Under-17] World Cup years ago, the best player was Phil Foden, and he was the second-best player in this tournament, then he played for Spain's under-21s.

"He was a young talented player from the academy in Barcelona, he went to [Borussia] Dortmund and didn't get many minutes, and the last year he played in the good hands of Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and played really well.

"We targeted him and could bring him here."

Asked whether Gomez was one for the future, Guardiola responded: "No, for now, he's going to stay with us and will be alongside Joao, for left-back."

Full-backs have a vital role in Guardiola's team, with the ability of Cancelo to drift into the middle of the midfield seen as key.

Playing in this way, Cancelo laid on seven Premier League assists in 2021-22 – a tally only beaten by Gabriel Jesus and Kevin De Bruyne (both eight) among City players – and created 36 chances from open play.

He also topped the club's charts for passes ending in the final third (1,112 – over 300 more than second-placed Bernardo Silva's 769) .

Cancelo and Kyle Walker each impressed as City enjoyed over 75 per cent of the possession in a routine win at West Ham last Sunday, and Guardiola highlighted the way his full-backs must adapt against different opponents.

"It's not the first time I've done it; for many years, I've done it," he added.

"Last season, with a proper striker with Gabriel or Raz [Raheem Sterling] playing that, or with a false nine, we played it, too.

"And in many games, we didn't play it, and many games this season we are not going to play. It depends on the qualities of opponents, especially the shape of how they defend.

"The way we attack depends on how they defend. It's different to attack a four or five at the back, to see how the wingers behave, to defend narrow or wide – this affects your attack.

"You have to adapt. Since, I would say, at Bayern Munich, especially in the second season, I always used it many, many times."

Chelsea are ready to make a splash in the transfer market with a series of signings on the cards.

The Blues have been heavily linked with Leicester City's Wesley Fofana as they seek replacements for the departed Antonio Rudiger and Andreas Christensen in defence.

Chelsea are understood to be keen to bolster their forward options too, with Romelu Lukaku exiting for Inter.

TOP STORY – BLUES TO SWOOP FOR DE JONG AND AUBA

Chelsea are all set to sign Barcelona pair Frenkie de Jong and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should the Catalans permit the duo to exit the club, reports Sky Sports.

Manchester United have been involved in a drawn-out saga for De Jong this off-season, with the Dutchman reluctant to leave but the Blues are ready to match their £72million (€85m) bid, plus offer Champions League football.

Aubameyang only joined Barcelona in January but has previously worked with Thomas Tuchel at Borussia Dortmund.

ROUND-UP

– ESPN claims that Barcelona's off-season signings Andreas Christensen and Franck Kessie could leave the Blaugrana for free if the club cannot register them due to LaLiga financial fair play rules in time for Saturday's league opener. Barca defender Gerard Pique has offered to play for free to help register the new players, according to AS.

– The Mail reports that Manchester City are set to finalise an £11m deal for 21-year-old Spanish left-back Sergio Gomez from Anderlecht on Thursday. Fabrizio Romano claims he may be loaned out to Girona.

– Rennes forward Arnaud Kalimuendo is on the cusp of joining Paris Saint-Germain for €25m, claims L'Equipe. Leeds United have shown an interest in the 20-year-old striker.

– Atalanta and Nottingham Forest have agreed terms for the transfer of Switzerland international midfielder Remo Freuler, reports Sky Sport Italia.

Manchester United are scrambling for further reinforcements after their troubling loss to open the Premier League season, with Watford's Ismaila Sarr, Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata and PSV's Cody Gakpo all named as potential forward solutions.

Sarr, who scored a spectacular goal from the halfway line against West Brom on Monday, slowed after a strong start in the Premier League last season.

Meanwhile, Morata is back at Atletico after two years on loan at Juventus, and Gakpo, just 23, has hit the ground running for Champions League chasers PSV in the new season.

TOP STORY – UNITED WEIGH UP HOST OF FORWARD OPTIONS

The Sun reported interest in Sarr, ESPN detailed the Morata story, and The Telegraph had the scoop on Gakpo, indicating there are plenty of moving parts behind the scenes at United, and they are casting a wide net.

While no price has been named for either Sarr or Morata, Gakpo figures to demand a fee in the range of £35million, while The Telegraph is reporting the club are also assessing the availability of Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who Corriere dello Sport suggests would cost €50m.

Milinkovic-Savic, 27, would likely fill a similar role envisioned by Erik ten Hag for Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong – who has ruled out a move to Old Trafford – and could relegate one of Scott McTominay or Fred to the bench.

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting Manchester City are closing in on a transfer worth at least €10m to bring Anderlecht left-back Sergio Gomez to the Premier League. 

– According to the Daily Mail, Arsenal are in discussions with Milan about acquiring 22-year-old midfielder Sandro Tonali, who the Italian club value at £46m.

– Metro claims Arsenal are also leading the race for 19-year-old winger Yeremi Pino from Villarreal, with the club said to be willing to meet the £33m asking price, while Liverpool are also interested.

– Foot Mercato is reporting Nottingham Forest are pushing to sign Villarreal's €20m Ecuadorian full-back Pervis Estupinan

Chelsea are preparing a £12m move for 19-year-old Inter midfielder Cesare Casadei, per the Evening Standard.

Chelsea are looking to swoop in and scoop up Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who has been Manchester United's primary midfield target since the appointment of new boss Erik ten Hag.

De Jong, 25, has 44 international caps for the Netherlands, and has spent the past three seasons with the Spanish giants.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been adamant the club does not want to part ways with the star they paid €75million for back in 2019, but the club's financial position may force their hand.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA LOOK TO STEAL UNITED TARGET WITH CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ALLURE

De Jong is reportedly been hesitant about a move to United due to the fact that they could not offer Champions League football, and that is where Chelsea will have their advantage in negotiations.

The Metro is reporting the Stamford Bridge club are preparing an offer that will include both players and cash, with €60million as well as Spanish duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso said to be on the table.

The elephant in the room regarding a De Jong move is that Barcelona reportedly owe the Dutchman £17m in deferred wages, and the Daily Mail claims he wants the balance fully paid before he signs off on any transfer.

 

ROUND-UP

United have been told they will need to pay £106m in order to secure the signings of Ajax duo Lisandro Martinez and Antony, according to the Daily Record.

– According to i Sport, Chelsea are working on a new contract extension for Reece James, despite three years still remaining on his current deal, in an effort to fend off interest from Manchester City and Real Madrid.

– The Daily Mail is reporting Wolves will send 19-year-old Fabio Silva on a season-long loan to Anderlecht after purchasing him for £35m two years ago.

– The Mirror claims Leeds United are preparing a club-record offer of £32m for 21-year-old Club Brugge midfielder Charles De Ketelaere, who already has eight senior international caps for Belgium.

– According to Fabrizio Romano, the likely departure of Raheem Sterling has put City in a position to offer Riyad Mahrez a contract extension.

Former Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany has been confirmed as the new manager of Burnley following his departure from Anderlecht.

The 36-year-old spent three years in charge of Anderlecht, the first of those as player-manager, prior to stepping aside by mutual consent last month.

He takes over at Turf Moor ahead of Burnley's first season in the Championship since 2015-16 following their relegation from the Premier League.

Sean Dyche was sacked by the Clarets in April after a decade in charge, with interim boss Mike Jackson unable to keep the club in the top flight.

Burnley confirmed the appointment on their official website on Tuesday, though they did not announce the length of the contract signed by the Belgian.

Kompany said: "Burnley Football Club is a truly historic English side and it is an honour to be appointed first-team manager. I'm excited by the challenge ahead.

"I'm looking forward to getting to work with the players and creating a positive, winning team for our fans when we return to Turf Moor.

"I've been impressed by the board's vision for the club which aligns with my own and I look forward to playing my part as we enter an important season."

Kompany finished third in the Belgian First Division last term to guide Anderlecht back into Europe, while also reaching the domestic cup final, where his side lost on penalties to Gent.

Prior to moving into coaching, Kompany enjoyed a 17-year playing career with Anderlecht, Hamburg and City, winning 10 major trophies across 11 seasons with the latter.

"We are absolutely delighted to welcome Vincent to Burnley Football Club," chairman Alan Pace said.

"Vincent is a proven leader and I've been very impressed with his ideas for Burnley Football Club, his appetite to succeed and his focus on leading the club back to the Premier League.

"Vincent has shown impressive credentials in leading one of Belgium's biggest teams back to European football and a cup final last season and we've been excited by his philosophy, approach and ambition for the club."

Manchester City great Vincent Kompany has left his post as Anderlecht head coach amid reports linking him with the vacant manager's position at Burnley.

Kompany returned to Anderlecht – whose academy he was a graduate of – in 2019 in a player-manager capacity as the club looked to rebuild, though he soon switched focus to playing duties.

A year later, in August 2020, he was appointed as the club's head coach after bringing his playing days to a close.

Anderlecht could only finish as high as fourth in the 2020-21 Belgian Pro League season, before ending the 2021-22 campaign third.

Although Kompany signed a four-year deal in 2020, he leaves the club having failed to win Anderlecht a first league title since 2016-17, with Club Brugge winning four out of a possible five.

Anderlecht insisted Kompany's departure was a "mutual" decision.

A statement read: "The club and the coach have analysed the past season and discussed the plans for the future. The two parties have decided to part ways in mutual consent. This decision was taken with a lot of mutual respect and gratitude for everything that has been achieved together.

"The club wishes Vincent Kompany all the best in his further career as a coach. He was, is and will remain an icon of the club and will always find a home at Royal Sporting Club Anderlecht."

Kompany added: "Today only one feeling prevails: I am proud that I was able to start this new chapter at the club of my heart.

"I have now been a player and a coach of RSC Anderlecht, but above all I remain a loyal fan."

Widespread reports earlier on Wednesday suggested Kompany has already secured his next job, with a move back to English football seemingly on the cards.

Burnley brought Sean Dyche's 10-year tenure to an end in April as they looked to stave off relegation from the Premier League.

Caretaker manager Mike Jackson initially inspired an improvement, but it was not enough as they ultimately dropped back to the second tier for the first time since 2015-16.

Vincent Kompany said he was “disgusted” after being racially abused during Anderlecht's 2-2 draw with Club Brugge on Sunday.

The former Manchester City captain, now manager of Anderlecht, stated after the game that players and coaches were verbally abused throughout.

"I go home disgusted and disappointed. My players, my staff and I were victims of racist insults," the 35-year-old told broadcaster Eleven Sports.

"I want to get together with my staff, to be with the people who matter to me. We should not still have to experience this today."

Club Brugge, who were in the same Champions League group as Manchester City this season, released a statement after the game condemning the actions of their fans, saying: "Club Brugge, its fans, staff, players and board, strongly condemn any form of racism.

"These individuals are not representative of the values and norms of our club, and do not have their place at Jan Breydel Stadium."

On Monday, Club Brugge said the club would do all they can to identify those responsible and seek to impose stadium bans.

Kompany won two Belgian league titles as a player at Anderlecht before going on to win four Premier League titles with City, as well as two FA Cups and four EFL Cups during his time at the Etihad Stadium, before heading back to Anderlecht as player-coach in 2019. He retired from playing in 2020 to focus on managerial duties.

Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku posted support for his former Belgium team-mate on Instagram, and demanded a firm response from the football authorities.

"An icon like Vincent Kompany has been insulted because of his skin colour," Lukaku wrote. "Enough is enough ... take real action now."F

Is there a more reliable way of making sure a football team fails to live up to expectations than to label them the 'Golden Generation'?

Okay, maybe that's a little reductive as 'living up to expectations' is of course entirely dependent on context – the Czech Republic's 'Golden Generation' from 1996-2006 finished second and third at two out of three European Championship appearances. While not successful in the literal sense, most would agree it was a commendable achievement.

But for Belgium's plentiful crop, a lot more was expected than what they've achieved. While perhaps less of a disappointment than England's own 'Golden Generation', third place at a World Cup isn't going to be much of a legacy given some of the talent the Red Devils have had.

Roberto Martinez's side fell at the quarter-final hurdle in Euro 2020, with eventual winners Italy emerging 2-1 victors and Belgium left to watch the latter stages of another tournament pass them by.

At the very least, this week does offer them a chance at a first international trophy. They face France in Turin on Thursday in the second of the 2021 Nations League semi-finals.

But down the line when their best talents have retired, would the Nations League – which probably has a limited shelf-life itself if certain people at FIFA get their way over proposals for biennial World Cups – really suffice as the pinnacle of their achievements?

Red Devils awaiting replenishment

Of course, Belgium do still have time – the next World Cup is only 13 months away.

But how many would realistically consider them among the favourites? Concerns over the age of their squad are valid and, while 13 months isn't necessarily a long time, elite football has a tendency to expose and exacerbate even the slightest weakness, of which age can be an example.

Reaching the 2018 World Cup semi-final was the closest Belgium have come to winning the biggest prize in football, as they got to the last four before ultimately losing to Thursday's opponents France.

 

Martinez's starting XI in that game was the oldest (28 years, 356 days) of all of Belgium's line-ups during the 2018 World Cup. While that may not necessarily be shockingly old in itself, some might suggest that was evidence of them being at the peak of their powers.

Since Russia 2018, Belgium have only got older. Now, you might be inclined to say, "Yeah, that's how aging works, genius", but football is obviously cyclical. Teams don't just age for eternity, they are refreshed and replenished.

It's difficult to say that's happening on a consistent basis with Belgium, though.

Young Lions setting the example

Gareth Southgate's England got just as far as Belgium in Russia and their squad was already rather young (26.0 years), with only Nigeria (25.9) having a younger group of players at the tournament.

The third-place play-off – when fringe players were given opportunities – aside, England's starting XI's average age only dipped below 26 once, and that was their third group game (also against Belgium) having already secured a spot in the next round.

But there were clear signs of further refreshment to Southgate's team after the tournament, with their first XI's average age not reaching 26 again for more than two years (November 2020).

 

Between the start of the last World Cup and the present day, Belgium have named a starting XI with an average age of 29 years or more nine times – seven of those have been in 2021 alone. Their oldest average age in that time, 30 years and 148, was during the 1-0 win over Portugal at Euro 2020.

Of course, it didn't work out too badly on that occasion, and their collective age isn't necessarily a barrier in a given game, but it does suggest Martinez has to be reliant on his older players because the next generation isn't of the same calibre.

The starting XI selected against Portugal at the Euros was the second-oldest named by any team at the tournament after Slovakia.

While key players such as Romelu Lukaku, Yannick Carrasco, Youri Tielemans and Thibaut Courtois haven't reached 30, Kevin De Bruyne, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Eden Hazard have.

So, what of the next generation?

Belgium's next hopefuls

Belgium's youngest team of 2021 – and fourth-youngest since the start of the last World Cup – was named last month (26 years, 364 days) in the 1-0 win away to Belarus.

Among the 15 players who featured, only three were 24 or younger: Dodi Lukebakio, Tielemans and Alexis Saelemaekers, who at 22 was the youngest. Zinho Vanheusden (also 22), Yari Verschaeren and Charles De Ketelaere (both 20) were unused substitutes.

Arsenal midfielder Albert Sambi Lokonga (21) had been in the squad, while Jeremy Doku impressed with his pace and trickery at Euro 2020 despite only turning 19 in May. These, for the time being, appear to be Belgium's next biggest hopes.

Lokonga looks set to be an interesting option in midfield. Athletic and a hard worker, his 62.2 per cent duel success was the 15th highest among outfield players in the Belgian Pro League last season, but he's also an assuring presence in possession.

 

Of the Pro League players to attempt at least 30 dribbles last term, Lokonga (41) ranked third in terms of completion percentage (72.1), while no midfielder or winger recorded more ball carries (627) than him. Among the same group, only three – two of whom were wingers – carried the ball further upfield over the course of the campaign than Lokonga (3,356.9 metres).

His former Anderlecht team-mate Verschaeren has been around for a few years now, with this impressively his fourth season in the club's first team. Last term saw him progress as a goal threat, improving from two the season before to six, but early suggestions he could be the 'next Eden Hazard' haven't really been on the money.

While Hazard has always been renowned for his dribbling, Verschaeren is a rather less conventional winger in that sense given he only attempted 1.8 per 90 minutes in 2020-21. Instead, his strength lies in link-up play, with just six players among forwards and midfielders (at least 900 minutes played) bettering his 83.5 per cent pass completion in the attacking half of the pitch.

Although his shot-ending sequence involvement average of 4.1 per 90 minutes was unspectacular, it was above average, whereas his goal-ending sequence involvement of 0.8 each game was bettered only seven.

But where Verschaeren's stock may not have risen as quickly as some expected a couple of years ago, De Ketelaere does appear to be on a good trajectory.

Capable of playing as a striker, winger or No.10, De Ketelaere has often been deemed lightweight despite his height and easily knocked off the ball. His duel success has improved to 54.6 per cent this term from 44.3 – among the worst – last season, a consequence of him bulking up somewhat, and although he continues to lack presence aerially (36.8 per cent aerial success), De Ketelaere can get by because he's a good technician.

He was important as an associative player in attack in 2020-21, as demonstrated by the fact he was involved in shot-ending sequences with a total xG (expected goals) value of 21.8, the seventh-highest in the Pro League, while he's already matched last season's goals output of four.

 

Doku is seemingly the outstanding one of the bunch in terms of flair, at the very least. He attempted (184) and completed (110) the fifth-most dribbles across the top five European leagues last season, encouraging proof of his confidence and technique.

Currently injured, Doku still has plenty to work on in terms of his end product, but the raw minerals are there, and he didn't look out of place at Euro 2020.

Are these youngsters enough to carry the burden of expectation that's been cultivated by Belgium's 'Golden Generation', though? At the moment it's difficult to say the new kids on the block are generally of the same quality on an individual level, because Lukaku, De Bruyne, Hazard et al have just been so good over the years.

While Nations League success may not cut it as a satisfactory legacy for this Belgium team, winning the title in Italy might just give them the nudge their collective mentality needs ahead of what looks likely to be a last realistic tilt at the World Cup for a while.

Anderlecht have announced that Craig Bellamy will leave his role as Vincent Kompany's assistant coach to deal with mental health problems. 

Bellamy, who talked extensively about his long battle with depression last year, had been part of the Anderlecht coaching staff since 2019. 

The 42-year-old has been working as former Manchester City team-mate Kompany's right-hand man since earlier this year, but he will officially step aside on Monday. 

A statement on Anderlecht's website on Sunday read: "Assistant coach Craig Bellamy will leave the coaching staff of RSC Anderlecht on Monday.  

"Bellamy already struggled with mental problems in the past and these have resurfaced again recently.  

"With his departure, the Brit took a very difficult, but absolutely necessary decision concerning his health.  

"Bellamy said goodbye to the players in the dressing room on Sunday afternoon after the 7-2 victory against KV Mechelen." 

Former Wales international Bellamy retired from football in 2014 following a second spell with hometown club Cardiff City. 

He moved into coaching with Cardiff at academy level before departing in January 2019 and taking up a similar position with Anderlecht. 

Following the news of Bellamy's departure, Kompany added: "Craig has long struggled with his mental health. Now the monster is back there.  

"Health is above football. We are obligated to give him the chance to get well." 

Vincent Kompany says he is humbled after Manchester City unveiled a permanent statue of their former captain at the Etihad Stadium.

Kompany and ex team-mate David Silva have been honoured for their remarkable services to the club with large-scale statues on the east side of the stadium.

Created by sculptor Andy Scott, they were constructed using thousands of welded pieces of galvanised steel, and will be specially illuminated with blue-tinted lighting.

After joining from Hamburg in August 2008, Kompany made 320 appearances during 11 years with City, scoring 20 goals.

The Belgian captained the club to four Premier League titles – including their first top-flight success in 44 years in 2012 – as well as four EFL Cups and the 2019 FA Cup.

Kompany, now the Anderlecht boss, is honoured by the recognition he has received.

"I didn't really expect to be recognised by such a great club in that way," he told City's official website.

"My wife is from Manchester, my kids are born in Manchester, and they go back to a place where they can see something that represents what their Dad has achieved and that is something that I can't describe.

"The first time I saw the statue, I couldn't believe how big it was, but then again, I'm a big boy, so fair enough!

"And then especially the pose, for me it means a lot."

He later added on Twitter: "So grateful, humbled and at the same time sad I couldn't be there today. I am dedicating every minute I have to @rscanderlecht.

"I promise I'll be back to visit as soon as I can. Meanwhile, keep the pigeons away from those arms."

Albert Sambi Lokonga's football intelligence can be a huge asset to Arsenal after the Belgium Under-21 international won the admiration of a Premier League great.

Mikel Arteta made Lokonga his second signing of the close season on Monday - the Gunners wrapping up a deal reported to be worth an initial £15million with Anderlecht.

Lokonga was coached by Vincent Kompany at Anderlecht and Arteta, who worked with the ex-Manchester City captain when he was part of Pep Guardiola's staff, did the expected background work on the highly rated midfielder.

"Albert is a very intelligent player who has shown great maturity in his performances during his development," Arteta told his club's official website.

"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.

"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."

Lokonga made his Belgian Pro League debut in December 2017 and Opta statistics from his performances since then measure up well to those produced by Arsenal players over the same period.

Noted for his ability to play in front of the defence, the 21-year-old made 115 tackles and won 77 in 69 league appearances.

Somewhat predictably, Granit Xhaka is the only Arsenal player to have racked up more – 195 tackles and 114 won – during this time, although the Switzerland star did so over 111 games.

Lucas Torreira, who spent last season on loan at Atletico Madrid, perhaps provides a better point of comparison. In 63 Premier League games for the Gunners, the combative Uruguay international made 98 tackles and won 70.

Of Arsenal outfield players to have featured in 30 or more league games since December 2017, only the now departed Shkodran Mustafi (64.29 per cent) has a better duel success rate than Lokonga (60.7).

Overall, he has won possession 414 times – again a figure only bettered by Xhaka on 746, with Torriera (327) off the pace set by the new signing.

Lokonga is also accomplished in possession, with 86.1 per cent passing accuracy and 67 chances created in the top-flight for Anderlecht suggesting he is not afraid of operating in a progressive manner on the ball.

Xhaka, while continuing to bear in mind his greater game time, has made 94 key passes during the time in question, with attackers Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang the only other current Arsenal players to have supplied more.

Manchester City defender Taylor Harwood-Bellis has joined Anderlecht on a season-long loan.

The 19-year-old is linking up with former City captain Vincent Kompany, who is preparing for his second full season in charge as coach at Lotto Park.

Kompany successfully called on his former club for help last term, taking Lukas Nmecha on a temporary deal spanning the 2020-21 campaign.

The German went on to score 18 goals in 37 league appearances over the course of his stay in Belgium.

Now the hope will be that Harwood-Bellis, who spent the back half of last season in the Championship with Blackburn Rovers, can make a similar positive impact.

The teenager, who joined City's academy at the age of six, has made senior appearances for the club so far.

On his arrival, Anderlecht sporting director Peter Verbeke said: "Taylor is a young central defender who already plays with a lot of personality and maturity.

"His training at City, together with experience in the Championship, makes him a player who is good on the ball and who has a lot of aggressivity and audacity."

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