So Arsenal nabbed Thomas Partey from under the noses of Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone.
It’s great news for us Gooners to finally see our club go and get the their number one target and we all have high hopes. The inevitable comparisons to Patrick Vieira have already started and while it is massively unfair to Partey to heap that much pressure on the man before he has even pulled on a shirt, it is fair to say that Partey’s skillset is a little similar to our former midfield powerhouse.
If like me, you have stayed up and researched the player by watching endless reels of him in action and have watched him do the business for Atletico in La Liga, then you know that Partey is much more than a defensive midfielder. While Paddy V was adept at breaking up attacks and being the protector of our defence, his main strength was picking up possession and pushing our team forward with runs from deep, carrying the ball and picking the right pass at the right time to inflict maximum damage.
Partey does this time and again for Atletico, but how will Arsenal line up now we have the midfielder we have wanted for so long?
Well, it gives Arteta options. If we play three centrally, then Partey will be dead centre and it gives license for Xhaka and Ceballos to roam and be effective in more areas of the pitch. If we play with two in the central role, he is the ideal pivot partner for either the Swiss player or the Spaniard. Partey offers Arteta the ability to switch things up as the Ghanaian is effective both in the defensive third and carrying forward. For his country, Partey is an attacking force that is not bound by defensive duties – he simply rampages up the pitch. The best thing about the midfielder though – is his experience.
He knows exactly when the best time to push up and when to hold tight. He has been schooled under Simeone who would not have his players out of position or weakening the team. Partey in our ranks allows Arteta the freedom to make decisions unhampered by availability of certain players or flexibility of their tactical nous.
Partey could well be the glue we need to gel this team together – or better yet the final part of the spine that pushes us back where we belong.
No pressure Thomas, but we’re so glad you chose us.