Thomas Partey is Arsenal’s pivotal player as Mikel Arteta continues rebuild


Arsenal’s £140 million summer transfer spree was a huge show of faith in manager Mikel Arteta’s judgment, but it was also part of a gamble that began much earlier. This latest recruitment drive was the consequence of a promise by Kroenke Sports Enterprises to invest; it was their response to fan protests arising from the club’s involvement in the failed European Super League project, which stoked longstanding resentment at their presiding over a gradual, but sustained, decline in the club’s Premier League status. The Kroenkes have not been quite as parsimonious as some would argue.

Although the team would undoubtedly have benefitted from a bigger budget, one of the key issues has been a mixed return from the money they have spent, most obviously the £72m club-record outlay on Nicolas Pepe in 2019.

Then-manager Unai Emery has subsequently claimed he preferred to sign Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, but various circumstances — including Lille’s willingness to accept the fee in instalments — led to the pursuit of Pepe instead. And so when Arteta approached the Kroenkes directly to find the £45m required to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid just a year later, they had a huge decision to make.

It was a simple deal given that Partey had a release clause, but Atletico required the entire sum to be paid up front. Sources claim Arsenal had been tracking Partey for several years, with former scout Francis Cagigao first identifying the midfielder in 2014 during a loan spell at another LaLiga side, Almeria. Although a possible transfer was briefly discussed in 2019, Emery believed priorities lay elsewhere in rebuilding the team, but this time, Arteta was adamant Partey would be the key component of his midfield, an area of the pitch where…

Source : espn

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