Since the likes of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva left Arsenal, the Gunners haven’t won the Premier League and even more tellingly, they haven’t found a proper replacement for the Frenchman or Brazillian and have been guilty of a soft centre and a lack of leadership in the middle of the pitch.
The likes of Alex Song, Francis Coquelin and in more recent times Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreria and Matteo Guendouzi have tried to establish themselves as holding midfielders within the XI capable of protecting Arsenals back four, but they have all struggled in doing so.
Arsenal has recently been linked with another box to box midfielder in Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey, a player who would provide a significant upgrade on the players mentioned above and genuinely capable of shielding the Gunners rearguard.Embed from Getty Images
Partey, 26, holds a release clause of around £45million in his current contract and According to The Telegraph, Arsenal will consider moving for Atletico Madrid midfielder when the transfer window opens
A source at the Wanda Metropolitano stating there is “interest from an English club” and it is believed that Atletico are braced for a number of approaches this summer for the midfielder, and they are willing to let him go providing the full length of the clause is met.
In the recent years, the Ghanian midfielder has established himself as a vital cog in Diego Simeone’s midfield with his ball-winning skills, technical qualities and passing ability earning plaudits and attracting the eye of some of Europe top’s teams.
The Ghanaian has been one of Atletico’s best players this season and his display over two legs as they eliminated holders Liverpool from the Champions League showed his superb quality, including his outstanding performance against Liverpool at Anfield last week.
One of his best attributes is his ability to stay at his best and maintain his concentration levels for the duration of the game.
Against Liverpool at Anfield, when most players were fatigued, he kept on protecting his team’s backline as well as showing excellent composure when on the ball and helping his side start new attacks which culminated in three extra-time goals for his team.
However, his excellent performance at Anfield wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Until the La Liga’s suspension, Atletico had conceded only 21 goals in 27 league games, with Partey having played all but three. His defensive discipline undoubtedly contributed to these figures, but it’s his ability in the transition to take the ball and build at the back that is most notable.
Partey has a buy-out clause of £45million, and according to former Premier League goalkeeper Shaka Hislopm, the mdifielder would be an excellent signing for Arsenal.
‘Thomas Partey has been outstanding for the last two years at the very least,’ Hislop told ESPN FC. ‘If you’re Arsenal and you can somehow prise Partey away from Atletico Madrid, absolutely you do it all day every day.
‘He sits in front of the back four, I’m still not sure that there are many better box-to-box midfielders in the game. If you get this done, do it now, do it quick.’
It’s clear Arsenal lack the necessary quality in defensive midfield. Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi are all decent options, with the Swiss and Uruguayan particularly showing signs of improvement and more defensive discipline former Manchester City assistant Mikel Arteta was appointed head coach.
However, neither neither of them have shown Arteta they’re equipped to lead and provide genuine protection in midfield. For far too long, Arsenal have lacked a character in the middle, someone who doesn’t mind getting stuck in and being capable of taking the responsibility of becoming a leader in the position. Thomas Partey is a player tailor made for the rigours demands of the Premier League. He would make an instant impact in the middle, and would undoubtedly significantly improve Arsenal’s defensive efficiency and prowess.
Partey can fulfil a number of positions in a variety of formations, including being a double-pivot midfielder in a 4-2-3-1, at the base of a midfield diamond or as a no.6 behind two free roaming no.8s. His awareness of danger, positional awareness and speed to cover a fair amount of ground in front of the back-line are all common characteristics within his game.
Arsenal evidently lack that presence in this crucial area of the pitch and the potential signing of Partey would go along way in solving that deficiency. In fact, £45million in the current market would certainly be a piece of shrewd business especially for a player of Partey’s qualities and would certainly be a formidable signing for the Gunners if they were able to secure the Ghanian’s services.