Thomas Partey: Arsenal's new Patrick Vieira?
Arsenal confirmed the signing of Atletico Madrid defensive midfielder Thomas Partey on Monday, after paying his £45 million release clause, but could he be the answer to all of their needs since Patrick Vieira left the club?
Ever since Vieira left the club, Arsenal have tried to replace him with plenty of defensive midfielders, from Mathieu Flamini, to the injury-prone Abou Diaby, to contract rebel Alex Song and even current manager Mikel Arteta, yet none of them seemed to fit the bill.
However, Partey seems the most similar to Vieira in terms of play style, being a robust midfielder that is focused primarily on defending, but can also come up with the occasional goal after going forward as well.
Partey has enjoyed several years of success at Atletico Madrid, yet over the last two seasons he has flourished, recording averages of 2 tackles per game and 2.1 tackles per game in La Liga in 2019/20 and 2018/19 respectively.
Additionally, he also managed 1.4 interceptions and 1.5 interceptions in La Liga in 2019/20 and 2018/19 respectively.
A very key stat is that whilst he is primarily a defensive midfielder, he is still very good on the ball, having an average pass accuracy of 83.6% over the last two seasons in La Liga.
As mentioned earlier, Partey has also notched up some goals and assists for Atletico throughout the seasons, scoring seven goals and providing six assists in all competitions over the last two seasons.
For the price of £45 million, Partey looks like a steal, adding to Arsenal's midfield, which has been left short of reinforcements after Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira both left the club.
Apart from Partey, Arsenal only have Granit Xhaka, Dani Ceballos and Mohamed Elneny as out and out midfielders, and so they badly needed a midfielder after seeing their move for Lyon's Houssem Aouar fall through at the latter stages.
Partey looks like the player that Arsenal have badly needed throughout the years, and could fit in much better than Aouar would have done.