In the last few weeks, reports in the Spanish and French media have linked Arsenal with a move for Thomas Partey (26), who plays as a central midfielder for Atletico Madrid and Ghana. The highly rated midfielder could leave the La Liga club if his £43.6 million, and many have speculated that Alexandre Lacazette could go the other way.
However, the speculation has now developed into serious transfer talk, with highly-rated source Fabrizio Romano telling The Guardian that Arsenal “have expressed the strongest interest” in the player. That’s almost as high up as you can get in the hierarchy of trustworthy transfer news sources (besides the unmatched David Ornstein).
The catch is that Atletico are not happy about this. While they would not be able to turn down Arsenal’s approach if the release clause were met, they may try to eliminate the release clause altogether by extending Partey’s contract from 2023 to 2025. According to Romano, Atletico’s manager Diego Simeone “is desperate” and has urged the club’s hierarchy to work hard to keep Partey, who has been a reliable enforcer in his midfield since he returned from a loan spell at Almeria in 2015.
This transfer saga would then go down to how far Thomas can be lured to play under Arteta at the Emirates. On the bright side for Arsenal, the midfielder was keen to join last year to play under Unai Emery, but the Gunners could not meet his release clause as they had to prioritise the signing of Nicolas Pepe. In fact, David Ornstein said in December that Partey was “desperate” for the move.
Atletico plan to double Partey’s £65,000-a-week wages, and set the new release clause well over €100 million. Clearly, there is something about Arsenal that the player admires, but whether or not he will be ready to abandon that admiration in order to remain in Madrid, only time will tell.
Header Photo: Анна Джалалян, 2019