Arsenal’s dramatic transfer deadline day ended with the capture of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid.
The Gunners were desperate to land a dominant central midfielder before the window closed, with Mikel Arteta keen to add some much needed dynamism in the middle of the pitch to complement his existing options.
A move for Partey seemed unlikely given Atletico’s unrelenting stance that the Ghana international’s £45million release clause had to be paid in full by any interested clubs.
But Arsenal’s failure to agree terms for Lyon’s Houssem Aouar forced the Gunners’ hand and a deal to sign Partey was swiftly completed with the midfielder signing a four-year contract at the Emirates.
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With one of the club’s main transfer targets through the door, attention turns to addressing Arsenal’s other midfield issue.
The pursuit of Aouar was prioritised given Arteta’s admission that his squad lacked creativity and end product from midfield.
Speaking in July, the Spaniard admitted that Arsenal would look to address the situation in the summer.
“I have experienced that for four years at Manchester City, working out the best ways to break that [teams sitting deep] down,” Arteta told Sky Sports. “It is one of the challenges we are facing and one of the areas where we have to improve, for sure.”
He added: “Look at the players that we had in the past at this club in those positions.
“You go back to (Santi) Cazorla, to (Tomas) Rosicky, to (Andrey) Arshavin when he played there, to (Aaron) Ramsey when he played there, to (Henrikh) Mkhitaryan when he came in. Even Jack Wilshere used to play in those pockets all the time.
“That is a lot of players who are now not here. We have to renew that cycle, because if not, those kind of…