THOMAS PARTEY: ARSENAL'S NEW MAGIC MIDFIELDER
After being chased by Arsenal all summer long, Partey finally signed for the club on Monday night.
With an hour to go of the transfer window, the club triggered the 27-year-olds £45 million release clause and swiftly got their man.
In an interview with Arsenal.com, boss Mikel Arteta said: “We have been watching Thomas for a while, so we’re now delighted to add such a high-quality player to our squad. He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level in La Liga and the Champions League for several years.
"We’re very impressed with his attitude and his approach to the game. He’s an intelligent footballer and we’re looking forward to him integrating into our system and contributing to the progress we’re building at the moment at the club.”
The defensive midfielder could be the most important signing of the summer for Arsenal, as he adds world-class ability to a midfield which was previously lacking in quality.
What does the player bring to the club?
Partey made 188 appearances for Atletico Madrid and has been a regular in the team for the past few seasons, meaning that he comes with plenty of experience.
Standing at 6’1, Partey brings a strong physical presence to the midfield, as well as having good technical ability. He is also extremely athletic and will bring some much-needed energy to the club's midfield.
Partey’s combative style of play means that he should be able to settle into the Premier League very quickly. He is used to playing in a two in the centre of the park, meaning he will easily fit into Arteta’s preferred formation of 3-4-3, likely replacing Granit Xhaka.
Partey managed 2.5 successful tackles and 1.7 successful interceptions per 90 last season. These are great defensive stats, especially compared to Xhaka’s 1.6 tackles per 90 and 0.7 interceptions.
Unlike previous defensive midfielders that Arsenal have had, Partey is also good on the ball, looking to start attacks as soon as he wins it. The player had a pass completion rate of 82.2%, and averaged 1.6 successful dribbles per game in La Liga last season, meaning he will vastly improve Arsenal's transitional play from defence to attack.
Fans of English football will most likely remember him for the performance he gave against Liverpool back in March, when Atletico knocked Liverpool out of the Champions League at Anfield. Partey dominated the midfield, breaking up Liverpool’s attacks and getting Atletico on the front foot. If he can replicate that sort of performance for Arsenal this season, he could turn out to be one of the signings of the summer.
Look out for him making his debut against Manchester City in two weeks' time.