Thomas Partey on the 'need to go to Europe' from Ghana
New Arsenal signing Thomas Partey has opened up on the circumstances surrounding his move from Ghana to Europe as a young player earlier in his career.
The 27-year-old Ghanaian, who signed a long-term contract with Arsenal on transfer deadline day last month, has spoken on how he left Ghana for Europe in order to kick-start his career with a trial at Atletico Madrid.
He was still playing for Ghanaian second division side Tema Youth when he was noticed by Atletico Madrid scouts, and he immediately shifted his focused to chase his dreams and play in Europe.
He said that "It was a great moment", reflecting that he "was in Ghana playing for a second division team, and we qualified for the Premier League and I think most of the young people like me wanted to play in the Ghanaian Premier League because it was a dream."
However, later on "it was like 'I need to go to Europe' because this is what I watch on TV, and I want to be like those I see on TV".
He added that "When the opportunity came I just said 'okay, I want this, I want this challenge' and I took it."
Partey looked at former Ghana superstar Michael Essien as his role model, with the former Chelsea and Real Madrid midfielder being one of the country's best ever footballing exports, and Partey admired him ever since he was young.
He continued that "He was one of the best midfielders Ghana already had," stating that "He still, I think, did so many things and I think I need to break his record in the national team!"
Given the leadership qualities that Essien had and his humility on and off the pitch, Partey claimed that "he's a good person to be your idol".
Partey has already made two appearances for Mikel Arteta's Arsenal since signing for the club, and he has claimed that he is already "adapting really quick" to life in London, saying that "The players are so nice, they help you a lot to adapt really quick and I think it's the best decision I've ever made in my life."