It promises to be the most intriguing question when the Arsenal squad gathers back at London Colney following the international break. Will Mikel Arteta throw Thomas Partey into his side from outset?
To add an intriguing wrinkle to the matter Arsenal return to Premier League action at the Etihad Stadium, just the sort of game where Partey’s dynamism, reliability and strength in the tackle could be vital. As Arteta himself acknowledged, his team are missing something in midfield.
“We believe he has the right qualities, with his character and his personality and as well with his technical qualities and positional options that he can give to the team,” Arteta said.
“I think he allows us to play different formations and he can fit in within those formations in different positions, which is a really good thing to have in a squad where, in midfield, I think we were a little bit short.”
Such was the rush in which Partey was signed that he has not met many of his new team-mates, let alone trained with them. Having completed his medical and agreed terms on his £45million deadline day switch, Arsenal’s new signing has joined up with the Ghana squad for internationals against Mali and Qatar, the latter taking place on Monday afternoon.
Assuming that he comes through those unscathed and that there are no other factors that delay his arrival Partey ought to have a reasonable amount of time to familiarise himself with Arteta’s demands. As such a clear upgrade on the options currently available at Arsenal it seems logical that if he is fit enough he should play, perhaps alongside the steadying presence of Granit Xhaka.
In defence Arsenal were handed a welcome double boost this week when Calum Chambers and Shkodran Mustafi returned to first team training. The former has been sidelined since December so it seems unlikely he would be sharp enough for a place in Arteta’s plans.
Mustafi could be get closer although…