Arsenal have “too many guys who are in their late 20s and on big money” and Thomas Partey was only ever a back-up option to Houssem Aouar. That’s the belief of Gab Marcotti, who has downplayed the excitement surrounding Partey’s move to the Emirates.
The Gunners exercised the £45million release clause in the Ghanaian holding midfielder’s Atletico Madrid contract on transfer deadline day.
And they were able to get a medical completed and personal terms agreed in time to make him Arsenal’s seventh and final signing of the summer window.
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Partey’s arrival in north London caused a huge buzz among the club’s fanbase with the player boasting Champions League pedigree.
The 27-year-old was a huge part of the Atletico Madrid team that knocked Liverpool out of the European competition last season.
And it is hoped he will be to Mikel Arteta’s team what has been missing at Arsenal since the days of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva, a dominant midfield general.
But Marcotti thinks there are some negatives to the addition of Partey – who it has been claimed will earn £250,000 a week at Arsenal.
And he believes Arsenal would have preferred to sign Lyon creator Aouar, who they had at least one bid rejected for in the final week of the window.
That is in spite of reports suggesting it was never Partey or Aouar but rather which one of the two deals they could do given their financial constraints.
Speaking on ESPN FC, Julien Laurens hailed Partey as a “great signing” and declared: “I don’t think there’s many players with his characteristics and his ability right now in world football.”
But Marcotti butted in and said of Arsenal’s deadline day deal: “I’m not quite as excited as Juls is, especially when you juxtapose it with his age, with his fee.
“Is he a better option than [Mohamed] Elneny? Sure. But I think it’s pretty clear, and I think it’s why they waited until the very end to get Partey, that they wanted somebody else.
“They wanted Aouar and ended up with Partey because Partey’s there and you just have to plunk the money down and take him.
“Otherwise it would really make no sense at all to wait until this stage unless they were trying to negotiate at the same time Lucas Torreira going the other way, I don’t know, that’s a possibility.
“All of a sudden, for me, this team risks having too many guys who are in their late 20s and on big money.
“He wasn’t earning much money at Atletico Madrid so naturally he will have gotten a big, big bump to come to Arsenal.”
Arsenal technical director Edu and manager Arteta are both enthused about Partey’s move to the club, however.
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.”
While Edu added: “Thomas has all the right attributes to be a top player for Arsenal.
“He is a leader on and off the pitch and he is exactly the kind of player and person we want at the club.
“We already feel like we know Thomas very well based on the work we have done analysing his performances closely in recent times.
“With his all-round game and positive aggressive style, he will be a brilliant addition to our squad.
“We’ve made a strong start to the season and we want to continue to build on this with Thomas now part of our club.”
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