After what appears to be a lengthy transfer window characterized by several twists and turns largely due to the financial impact of COVID-19, English premier league side Arsenal finally got their man Thomas Partey.
The Ghanaian international was clearly the primary summer target for Manager Mikel Arteta who was keen to bolster his midfield machinery ahead of his first full season in charge of the London club.
After initially refusing to meet the players £45 million release, Arsenal made a dramatic U-turn on Monday to seal the player’s signature before the 11 PM deadline.
Mikel Arteta joined thousands of excited Arsenal fans to express his delight over 27-year-old’s signing.
“We have been watching Thomas for a while, so we’re now delighted to add such a high-quality player to our squad”.
Gunner? This is why you should be excited.
It is common knowledge that Arsenal has struggled to fill the void left in the midfield following the departure of now Nice coach Patrick Vieira who departed side on August 2005.
Since then the club has signed a host of players including the likes of Mathieu Flamini, Abou Diaby, Alex Song, and Francis Coquelin but none was not particularly able to feel Vieira’s big boots.
Well, after missing out having gone close to securing the midfielder’s signature under former boss Unai Emery, Arsenal followed up this term but left it late to sign Thomas Partey much to the excitement of the club’s faithful.
But what will the former ATM Madrid star add to Arsenal’s midfield options?
Despite coming up against a tough Liverpool midfield opposition the last term in the UEFA Champions League, Thomas Partey staged a dominant display that saw Atletico Madrid triumph over the two-legged tie.
With strong physical, dynamic, and energetic display at Anfield in the second leg, Partey isn’t exactly a new Liverpool fan would be looking forward to any moment soon.
That notwithstanding, he was built a good reputation over the years as the classic box-to-box type of midfielder which is gradually becoming a rare talent in football.
Whether being deployed in a deep-lying role or on the offensive midfield, he has built an impeccable stat which makes an argument for why Arsenal will break the bank after activating the player’s £45 million release clause.
Stats from last season champions league campaign indicate that the Ghanaian averaged 3.6 tackles and 1.5 interceptions per game when deployed to protect his backline.
In a more offensive role, he completed 1.6 key passes and two successful dribbles per game.
His performance earned him huge admiration with his manager Diego Simeone suggesting that the player could easily fit in at either Manchester United or City.
“Thomas is an amazing player. He could have played for Manchester City [or] Manchester United. We’re talking about a great player here. I rate him very highly.”
Partey’s signing can be a catalyst for Arsenal’s midfield which appeared to have come short in some few games played so far in the 2020-2021 football season.
Former England and Arsenal defender, Sol Campbell earlier stressed on the need for the Gunners to add steel to their midfield after it became evident that Mikel Arteta isn’t exactly a fan of either Matteo Guendouzi or Lucas Torreira who were both moved on deadline day.
“The steeliness and the balance just isn’t there. It’s the middle of the park, you win or lose a lot of games there.
“You can have a strong back or a strong front, but if you haven’t got a middle that’s really solid, then you have forwards dropping too deep because they’re not getting fed and defenders doing too much”, Campbell is quoted speaking to TalkSports earlier this season.
After publicly declaring his desire to play in the English Premier League, the boyhood Arsenal fan would have to hit the ground running after being touted as the next big thing for the club after Patrick Vieira left over a decade ago.