As with every transfer window, there is a major player linked with a move to the Emirates. This time it is the turn of Thomas Partey to join the rumour mill and keep all Arsenal fans hoping for a miracle. What makes this transfer even the more unlikely is the financial turmoil the footballing world is in.
Clubs have been severely hit with a loss of revenue streams, ultimately restricting their purchasing power when it pertains to signing players. In contrast, others like Chelsea have rich owners who will bankroll mega transfers in contrast to the rest of the league.
It was first reported that the Gunners would only be completing loan moves or cheap deals, but it seems as though the club are now willing to break the bank for Thomas Partey instead.
Here’s what Thomas Partey could bring to Arsenal
Covering of the Back Four
Under Diego Simeone, Partey has become accustomed to being the more defensively minded player in a double pivot midfield. His team’s style of play allows him to focus mainly on plugging the hole in between the CBs and playing simple passes around the back. His job is to anticipate danger, keep possession ticking over and aggressively press when the opportunity presents itself.
Atletico Madrid are renowned for playing in a mid-block, even when at home, meaning Partey operates very deep even for a defensive midfielder. At the Emirates, Arsenal’s full-backs often spend most of their time in the opposition’s half meaning the two centre-backs are left isolated and exposed to the counter-attack. Mikel Arteta would deploy Partey at the base of the midfield to almost act as a third CB in the build-up.
What has become synonymous with the 25-year-old is his aggressive tenacity when tackling. This season, the midfielder has averaged 2.1 tackles, 1.5 interceptions and 0.9 blocks a game in 24 La Liga appearances. Such a tackle rate is needed at the Emirates as coupled with his fantastic positioning, he would make the Gunners much less susceptible to the counter-attack, giving them more steel in the middle.
What makes his tackling stats even more impressive is the fact they are backed up by the minimal amount of times he has been dribbled past, which is only 0.2 times a game. This suggests that Partey positions himself according to the danger posed by the opponent.
What is most impressive about the Ghanaian is his ability to adopt a number of roles in the midfield. He is not only a ball-winning defensive midfielder he has been seen to play as a box-to-box midfielder and even a controlling playmaker. In a team as defensively-minded as Atletico Madrid, Partey has not had to play in the latter roles as much as the former but he has still shown his capabilities in glimpses, especially on the international stage.
He can dictate play like Granit Xhaka, be a ball carrier like Dani Ceballos and break up play like Lucas Torreira. Thomas Partey is the epitome of what Mikel Arteta wants an Arsenal midfield to look like, physicality and efficiency.