Is Thomas Partey the midfielder Arsenal have been missing?
Atletico Madrid star could be heading to North London
Arsenal may have shown signs of improvement recently, but Mikel Arteta will want to strengthen his squad this summer to help his side challenge for major honours again.
One player that’s been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates is Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey. He’s reportedly keen to join the Gunners, with suggestions that Alexandre Lacazette, Lucas Torreira or Matteo Guendouzi could be sold or swapped to fund a move for the Ghana international.
Central midfield has been a problem area for Arsenal for years now. Would Partey help to fix that issue? We’ve taken a look at what he could offer…
Is he better than what they have?
Each of Arsenal’s central midfielders has their positives, but collectively there’s a real shortage of defensive nous.
Granit Xhaka is an excellent passer, but he’s slow and prone to bad decisions. Torreira has shown promise, but he’s not really pushed on from an encouraging start and his lack of height is a concern.
Joe Willock is best at breaking into the final third, rather than trying to win the ball back, while the technically-gifted Dani Ceballos may not remain at the club when his loan ends. Guendouzi has talent, but Arteta is understood to have doubts over his attitude.
When you look at Arteta’s current options, it’s clear why someone like Partey could be a gamechanger for the Gunners.
Going back to the late years of the Arsene Wenger era, Arsenal have had a soft centre. They’ve been too easy to play against and a simple run or pass taking out the entire midfield far too often. With the defence given little protection, it’s no surprise that mistakes happened so frequently.
Mikel Arteta has been working on the training pitch to improve the team’s structure and recent results have shown the benefits, especially Saturday’s win over Wolves. However, Partey’s ability to break up attacks could make a huge difference.
Partey shone at Anfield in Atletico’s Champions League win over Liverpool. Playing in the centre, he helped to cut off the supply lines to Liverpool’s attacking stars, leaving them short of ideas.
Arsenal aren’t likely to be able to bring in a proven centre-back this summer, but a player like Partey would offer much better protection to the defenders they already have.
Keep things moving
Partey is best known for his defensive prowess, but he’s neat and tidy on the ball too. The 27-year-old isn’t likely to rack up assists, but he’ll help the side to control games much better than they currently do.
The North Londoners have well-known problems at the back, but it’s not perfect at the other end of the pitch either. Even with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang having another impressive season – he’s 11/4 to finish as top scorer – they aren’t scoring enough goals.
Every team currently in the top four has at least 60 league goals this season. Arsenal have only scored 49. The lack of goals throughout the side is one reason why they find themselves sitting seventh.
Partey would provide a solid foundation for the attackers to shine. He’ll win the ball and keep play ticking over, helping the team to pile the pressure on.
So, could Partey help to bring the glory days back to Arsenal? Let us know in our Twitter poll.
Would Thomas Partey fix Arsenal's midfield issues?
— Coral (@Coral) July 7, 2020
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication