Back in April when we were all in complete lockdown, I did a piece analyzing three key factors determining Thomas Partey's potential transfer to Arsenal, which are:
#1 - Player' desire to stay/leave Atletico Madrid
#2 - Is Arsenal an attractive proposition for Partey?
#3 - Can Arsenal afford Partey?
At the time, there wasn't a lot to know regarding these three things. There were whispers and hints but nothing concrete until almost a month ago when David Ornstein of The Athletic reported on the issue, stating that 'Arsenal have a long-standing interest in Partey, who is thought to be keen on moving to The Emirates Stadium' and have 'intensified' their pursuit of the midfielder.
Ornstein for me has always been and is still is the No.1 source for Arsenal transfer news - he was the first person to say that Partey was 'desperate' to join us last summer and reports from multiple outlets have echoed the same thing ever since.
The bottomline here is that Arsenal potentially missing out on European football next season doesn't seem to be having a huge effect on Partey's personal desire. This is something that has surprised me - remember, Atletico are a side challenging in the Champions league consistently.
Whilst we could put together a more lucrative wage, it seems to me like he genuinely loves Arsenal - reiterated by sources close to the player to @TheAFCBell claiming that he was a boyhood Arsenal fan. When you combine this, with Ornstein's words and multiple other reports, its clear Partey likes Arsenal and would love to play for us.
Mikel Arteta spoke about not needing to convince players to join us: "I have said it before that I do not think we should bring in players who need a lot of convincing. This club has enough to be attracted to it. The feeling I get when I talk to a lot of people is that the players still want to come to the club, because of the history, the way we do things, our values, the fans that we have and our stadium. They are really attractive things."
Could Partey be one of the players he is referring to? Certainly seems like it to me. Despite being where we are, we continue to be an attractive proposition due to the list of things Arteta mentions.
Additionally, the project is something we can also sell. We have already seen how persuasive Mikel Arteta has been when it comes to his conviction in communication - from convincing Xhaka to stay, getting Ceballos up a level in his game through a lengthy conversation, convincing Arsenal's head of medical Gary O'Driscoll to stay and getting our squad to agree a wage cut.
If there's any little doubt tinkering in Partey's mind, which doesn't seem to be the case, Arteta's communication skills can certainly come in handy.
The financial aspect is something that is the most crucial. Now, whilst €50m may seem like a small amount for a player of such a high calibre, it isn't something that is going to be easy for non sugar daddy clubs to just drop and say 'Here you go, now give us your player.' Especially in this economy. We are not Chelsea.
Arsenal are doing the right thing by offering a player in exchange with cash alongside, as reported by Fabrizio Romano. We are doing the sensible thing here by trying to test the waters with a possible swap deal. Can Arsenal afford him? I am sure we can when you factor in the player sales and I do think there will be quite a few. We have sellable assets and we just need to play our cards right.
As reported by Charles Watts and others, Thomas Partey is Mikel Arteta's number one target in midfield. This makes me think that the club will do everything they can to try and bring him, one way or another. Ornstein wrote about Arsenal being 'hopeful' of negotiating a price lower than Partey's release clause.
Remember, the €50m is to be paid up front and I'm sure Arsenal will love to reduce their commitment for the current window to try and bring in how much ever they can in other areas with what we have, but if it really is make or break - personally, I think we'll stump up the cash that Atletico are so after. Its still early days in the window and I think things will heat up once again after the FA Cup final.
Now, I am not an ITK, this is just my interpretation and opinion of the entire transfer saga - personally, I expect this transfer to drag on but it really seems to me like one we'll get over the line eventually. It could be a potential game changer for us. 'Be excited'!