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Sports News of Saturday, 30 May 2020


Thomas Partey would be more than just a £43m marquee signing for Arteta, Arsenal

Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Teye Partey Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Teye Partey

The talk about Thomas Partey and Arsenal doesn’t seem to be going away. Atletico Madrid’s midfield star has been repeatedly linked with a move to the Emirates in recent weeks, and should the Gunners land the Ghanaian star he could transform their team.

Mikel Arteta already has options in the deep-lying midfielder position, but Partey would jump right to the head of the queue should a move materialise.

In fact, the main debate seems to be who would play alongside Partey in the middle of the park, if Arsenal were to splash out £43million on the Ghanaian.

That in itself seems fanciful right now, with finances stretched as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and any move for Partey is reliant on the Gunners offloading a few players from their squad first.

Were Partey to arrive, however, Granit Xhaka and Matteo Guendouzi would appear to be top of the pecking order as possible partners for the 26-year-old, but it is another Arsenal defensive midfield option who could be the one to benefit most from Partey’s arrival - Lucas Torreira.

The Uruguayan has had an indifferent time of it in north London, initially impressing after his 2018 move from Sampdoria before a dip in form saw him in and out of the team over the last 12 months.

Recently, the 24-year-old had looked like he was playing his way back into contention until his season was curtailed by a serious ankle injury sustained against Portsmouth in the FA Cup in February.

Although not as bad as was first feared, the injury is still expected to keep Torriera out until the autumn - by which time he may have a new team-mate in the form of the €50million-rated Partey.

Paired together, it’s possible the two could find the kind of balance missing in the Arsenal midfield for several years.

Both are tacklers, but Partey is also more of a dribbler who can take the responsibility of moving the ball on.

This means Torreira can be left in his more comfortable role as the deepest player, more like his job in Serie A, where he was tasked with ball-winning and breaking up opposition play.

Torriera has generally looked uncomfortable in an advanced role, so would operate in a more disciplined defensive position ahead of a back four or three.

From this more restrained position, he would be expected to use his passing range to facilitate the creative talents of others, rather than forming part of the attack himself.

Meanwhile, Partey would be expected to dominate much of the midfield area, bringing more advanced team-mates into play to help penetrate the final third.

Partey’s presence would also add an extra physicality to Arteta’s midfield, and with anything that passes through him being swept up by Torreira.

It remains to be seen whether Arsenal’s reported interest in Partey will materialise into anything more solid. But should they get their man, it could be the key to unlocking the obvious potential of Torriera and forming a partnership to help Arsenal start competing at the top level once more.