In the end, Arsenal ’s long-running quest for a central midfielder was worth the wait.
The Gunners cut it fine, but in the end the fans’ patience was rewarded as Thomas Partey joined from Atletico Madrid.
The Ghana international is expected to become a mainstay in Mikel Arteta’s line-up, offering a mix of defensive discipline, physicality and progressive passing.
However, Partey’s addition also creates a headache for Arteta. With Partey, Arsenal now have 19 non-homegrown players in their squad, meaning the Spaniard will have to axe two to meet the Premier League’s limit of 17.
Here are four players who could face exclusion from Arteta’s squad.
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By far the most high-profile player facing an uncertain future at the Emirates Stadium, Ozil risks being cut by Arteta, who has frozen him out of first-team matters in recent months.
Ozil, Arsenal’s highest earner on an eye-watering £350,000-a-week, has not played competitive football since March, with Arteta admitting to finding difficulty to fit the 31-year-old into his plans.
Ozil has 44 goals in 254 appearances for the club but only scored once in 18 league outings last season.
Mohamed Elneny, Dani Ceballos, Granit Xhaka and Joe Willock have been vying for the midfield spots during the early part of the season, but with Partey added to the mix, it is difficult to see how Ozil fits into Arteta’s line-up.
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is virtually irreplaceable on the left wing, while Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Willian and Nicolas Pepe are all ahead of the former Real Madrid man in the pecking order.
(Image: Arsenal FC via Getty Images)
Arsenal’s failure to find suitors for some of the players surplus to requirements leaves Arteta with a bloated defensive pack.
He now has eight centre-backs after Mustafi failed to secure a move away. The German was…