Arsenal are looking at a major clear-out this summer, but Mikel Arteta will also have to find answers to existing problems as well as splashing the cash. Which is his first-choice centre-back pairing? Can Arteta keep Pepe’s momentum going for the new campaign and how can he get the maximum out of Thomas Partey?
Partey hasn’t dominated or reached the dizzy heights expected of him since his transfer from Atletico Madrid and many aren’t convinced by his fluctuating performances so far. If Arsenal are to improve on last season, then Partey is crucial to the cause because of his ability and class, but until he is consistent, Arteta may have problems.
Finding him a suitable partner that could draw out the best of him is the key and Yves Bissouma is certainly an upgrade on Granit Xhaka in both defence and attack and the Malian would allow Partey a bit more latitude to create opportunities.
— Eduardo Hagn (@EduardoHagn) June 1, 2021
The partnership with Xhaka was the best of a bad bunch of options but he did allow the Ghanaian to probe the opposition’s final third. However, if you watched closely, the pair often got caught out on the break with one or both out of position, making it far easier to pressurise a suspect and unsettled defence.
Arteta may feel that he doesn’t need Bissouma and that his addition might limit his options, but I’d disagree wholeheartedly because the Brighton man can offer so much including the ability to regain possession with ease, and would certainly help Partey to flourish.
Arteta could still add a more creative force but he needs to start with reinforcing his backline. Bissouma can also push up and be a box-to-box player, something Arsenal have been lacking since Ramsey’s departure.
The player’s relationship with Pepe is seen as a major plus and one which could ease this transfer through. Some have mentioned a lack of European football, but he was hardly on the threshold at Brighton and the draw of joining Arsenal with its history may be potent.
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