Arsenal’s quest to sign a central-midfielder during the summer transfer window went down to the wire.
After months and months of speculation about who Gunners manager Mikel Arteta would be able to lure to the Emirates Stadium to bolster his midfield options, the Spaniard struck gold on deadline day.
After being heavily linked with Atletico Madrid midfield enforcer Thomas Partey for most of the year, the Gunners sealed a deal for him on transfer deadline day earlier this month, triggering the £45million buyout clause in his contract.
His arrival in north London capped off an impressive window as far as the Gunners were concerned, with the likes of Gabriel Magalahes and Willian having joined the club earlier in the window.
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After stepping off the bench to make his Gunners debut in the 1-0 reverse to Manchester City last weekend, Partey was handed his first start for his new club in midweek in the Europa League.
The Ghanaian international, who is renowned for breaking up play and offering a sense of steel and strength to the midfield, delivered an assured showing to help the Gunners recover from 1-0 down to defeat Rapid Wien 2-1 away from home, with goals from David Luiz and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang shifting the contest back into the Gunners’ favour after Taxiarchis Fountas’ opener for the hosts.
Partey lined up in a midfield three alongside Mohamed Elneny and Bukayo Saka. Whilst Saka did a decent enough job in that role, he is not a natural central-midfielder, with his play more suited to operating in the wide areas.
It underlined the point that Arsenal are still in desperate need of adding more creativity to their central-midfield options.
That is an area of the team that Arteta knows needs improvement, hence why he was so keen to sign Lyon midfield starlet Houssem Aouar…