Image Attribution – (Feb. 19, 2019 – Source: Angel Martinez/Getty Images Europe)
After a fairly quiet January transfer window, the attention of fans will soon turn to Mikel Arteta’s first summer transfer window in charge at Arsenal. The defensive loan signings of Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares last month, plus the arrival of William Saliba this summer has seemingly been enough to appease fans on the defensive side of things.
However, the lacklustre performances this season have no doubt stemmed from a questionable midfield which has flattered to deceive in terms of creativity and asserting control over games. Virtually every midfielder – Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ceballos and Ozil – has attracted criticism at some point this season, with fans expecting a fresh face or two to join this summer.
The scope of what standard of player the club can attract will almost certainly depend on whether we can achieve Champions League football, or even Europa League football at this point. However, with the club winning three games on the bounce to go four points off Man United in 5th, and Man City receiving a two year ban from European competitions, optimism is high for the first time in a while.
Perhaps that is why the club has been linked with one of the most accomplished defensive midfielders in European football this week. Thomas Partey has been a regular in Atletico Madrid’s side for the past few years, and the athletic, six-foot plus Ghanaian has been linked with various English clubs over the past year. Whether the 26-year-old would be open to a move to England is unclear, but various sources have linked us with a £42 million bid, which would supposedly trigger Partey’s release clause.
No doubt this would be a great coup for Arteta in his first summer back at the club. The midfielder has made over 150 appearances for Atletico in the past four years, adapting well to Simeone’s demanding style of play. But other clubs such as Man United might prove a more tempting destination for Partey, as they would almost certainly offer him higher wages.
Obviously, there will be plenty more links to alternative midfield options in the coming months, but Partey is certainly an exciting player for the club to be linked with.