Few recent transfers have generated as much excitement among Arsenal faithful as Thomas Partey arriving at the Emirates and there is no bigger match for the Ghanaian to start his party at the club than the Londoners visiting Manchester City today (Saturday). After months of chasing the 27-year-old, Arsenal finally landed their man on deadline day when they met his £45million release clause set by Atletico.
The transfer has been described as one of the best during the just-closed summer window as pundits believe Arsenal just got what they truly needed to make their midfield solid.
The Ghanaian was a mainstay of that steely Atletico midfield and no wonder Los Colchoneros boss Diego Simeone was very reluctant to let his man go. The player who grew through the ranks at the Madrid side will be expected to continue his party with Arsenal.
He isn’t going to solve all over Arsenal’s creativity problem but the Ghanaian will combine his astuteness in the defensive third with his strengths in possession to make the club’s midfield really competitive. He isn’t only adept at sitting at the base of the midfield, fulfilling a dual role of protecting the defence and spraying forward passes to the attackers, he’s equally skilled at carrying out a more creative and goal scoring role in the side.
Most teams split the responsibilities in midfield among two, or maybe three, players these days – but Partey does it all. The Ghanaian’s stats reveal a complete midfielder who is equally capable in both defence and attack. In last season’s Champions League, Partey has averaged 3.6 tackles per game and 1.5 interceptions, providing excellent protection for his back four.
Then in attack, he makes 1.6 key passes and completes almost two dribbles per 90, which is rather impressive for someone in his position. “There is a buzz around the place, the fans are really happy. I’ve seen some positive reactions after we brought him,” his new boss MikelArteta told reporters in his pre-match press conference.
“It’s the same with the team, same with the staff, he’s a player we have rated for a long time and we have managed to bring him I think he’s going to be a really important addition to the team.”
All of his qualities will be expected to be on display when they face the former champions. The Gunners haven’t done badly against top opposition since Arteta took over but Manchester City are immensely talented side with penchant to attack their opponents on all fronts. Arsenal are also noted for their fragility in defence but much of the problem came from the fact that the team did not have a midfield that could protect the backline. With Partey now in the fray, the Gunners can start a new party.