Arsenal signed Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey on deadline day after triggering his £45m release clause. Partey signed a long-term contract with the Gunners after completing his medical just ahead of Monday’s 11 PM deadline. He will wear the No 18 shirt and is expected to join his new team next week after he returns from his national duty for Ghana.
The Arsenal hierarchy, in its infinite wisdom, decided to try their luck with Olympique Lyon over the price for Houssem Aouar. The player’s representatives confirmed with Arsenal that Aouar was in favour of a move to the Premier League and the Emirates.
Mikel Arteta had identified the Frenchman as one of his top targets and the club was expected to close the gap in the valuation, but Arsenal mistakenly assumed that Lyon’s desperate financial position would tip the balance in their favour.
A battle of wills ensued between one club in need of a substantial cash injection and the other, which had to sell off everything in-sight to get a deal. Lyon dug their heels in deep and with Arsenal unwilling to commit more cash, the deal died extremely quickly.
The result was that Lyon, who had publicly undermined the bids from the English club cast the shadow of doubt over the deal, and ultimately, the already unsettled player called time on the move. I don’t blame him at all because if someone ‘REALLY’ wants a player, they’ll pay the going rate within reason and according to the skill set, but the continued penny pinching ensured that once the deal fell through, Arsenal then had to throw everything in the pot to land Thomas Partey on deadline day.
It’s said that Stan Kroenke finally intervened to make the deal possible even though Arsenal have not secured the necessary finances through sales. Make no mistake, the deal for Partey was over some time ago but on Monday morning, Arsenal contacted all the relevant parties with their intentions and the money was made available to get the Atletico powerhouse.
So, Arsenal missed out on a genuine talent but instead of crying over what we’ve lost, let’s look at what we’ve gained. Thomas Partey in an Arsenal shirt is an intimidating proposition. Tall, muscular, athletic, and a natural competitor, who is as adept going forward as he is in defence.
His acquisition will allow Ceballos to venture into the offensive and release him for his restrictive duties alongside Xhaka or Elneny. Partey is not a converted DM, he is the real deal with experience at the top level and an appetite to achieve great things.
Arteta needs that burning desire and passion in the midfield because with Ozil sidelined until the time he leaves and Ceballos being overwhelmed in a duel role of creator and defender, Arsenal haven’t appeared solid or balanced. The Arteta blueprint now appears to be heading towards a 4-4-2 formation which requires the ball to be distributed into all areas, whereas for some time now Arsenal have chosen to do most of the work down the flanks.
Partey will add a new dimension by snuffing out danger, running forward through the middle with the ball, and providing an imposing threat that we haven’t seen since the days of Patrick Vieira. He can defend incredibly well and he’ll steal the ball from the opposition’s feet, but its the sight of him accelerating towards the opposition area that gets the adrenaline flowing.
Oh, and by the way, he can hit a ball from some distance or a dead ball situation with power and precision. As disappointed as I am about the failure of Arsenal to buy Aouar, I am truly excited to see Partey in Arsenal colours. If this Premier League campaign is going to yield some form of success, then the Ghanaian is crucial to the cause.
This has been a good transfer window for Arsenal, one where the manager has resolved a number of his side’s burning issues culminating in the deal for Thomas Partey, which at £45m is tantamount to daylight robbery. The fact that Mikel Arteta can attract a player of this calibre without the promise of Champions League football bodes well for Arsenal. With names such as Partey, Aubameyang, and Ceballos on the books, future recruitment should be relatively easy.
A final note:- How good can he be? Partey could become a major figure within Arteta’s Arsenal this season and a superstar within two.