On Deadline Day October the 5th, Arsenal activated the £45M release clause for Thomas Partey, finally getting one of their midfield targets after Houssem Aouar had reiterated his desire to stay at Olympique Lyonnais for another year.
Partey had been one of Arsenal’s and more importantly Arteta’s main target in this window. Arsenal had entered their transfer window with a very positive outlook post the fantastic end to the 2019/20 season. They pocketed the FA Cup and Community Shield and saw club captain Pierre-Emmerick Aubameyang along with youngsters Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Saka sign new long-term deals at the club.
Atletico Madrid had always insisted that they had no intention of selling Partey and maintained that if Arsenal wished to have him, they would have to meet the release clause. With only a few hours left on deadline day, Arsenal sanctioned the purchase of Thomas Partey, landing the highly desired and rated Central Defensive Midfielder.
But how does Partey fit into Arteta’s Arsenal and what can be expected of him in the Premier League?
Thomas Partey at 27 is in his prime and is a player who is going to bring an immediate impact on the Arsenal squad.
One of his features that make him a perfect fit is the fact that he is an extremely industrious player. He defends resiliently, something which is expected to be fundamental for a player coming from a Diego Simeone system. Also, he is extremely press resistant, something which Arsenal’s midfield has struggled to adapt to in recent times. He excels at transition; picking the ball up from his half and starting off one of his bursts into the opposition’s half. This will help Arsenal in making very effective counter-attacks and increasing the threat to goal.
He is also known to revel in taking shots from outside the box and more often than not getting the shots on target. He loves getting in the box during an attack to overload the defence and give his team a better chance at scoring. His recovery rate is also top-notch as he tracks back rather quickly and always gets himself back into position without seemingly breaking a sweat.
Ultimately, he will aid Arteta in transitioning from a 3-4-3 to a 4-3-3 by providing steel in the midfield and protecting the back 4. whilst not affecting Arteta’s attacking play and build-up, thanks to his excellent on-the-ball and distributing skills. He would also massively Xhaka/Ceballos by reducing their defensive burden and allowing them to venture forward or distribute freely without the worry of being caught unaware and out of position.
He will also allow Arteta to continually make the most of David Luiz’s distribution and long-range passing by providing defensive cover for the Brazilian; hence reducing the chances of him making a defensive error.
In Partey, Arsenal may have finally found the perfect replacement for Vieira. I know that the same thing was said about Diaby, Coquelin and Torreira, but Partey has all the features to possibly dominate the middle of the park for 3-4 years and steer Arsenal towards further glory.