Sunday , June 26 2022

Thomas Partey is Arsenal’s most important player as Mikel Arteta continues his transformation


Arsenal’s £ 140m summer transfer ban was an enormous play in the judgment of manager Mikel Arteta, but it was also part of a bet that started much earlier. This latest recruitment drive was the result of a promise from Kroenke Sports Enterprises to invest; it was her reaction to fan protests stemming from the club’s involvement in the failed European Super League project that aroused longing resentment in her president over a slow, but sustained, decline of the Premier’s club. League. The Crooks were not as parsimonious as some would claim.

While the team would undoubtedly have benefited from a larger budget, one of the main problems was a mixed return on the money they spent, most obviously the £ 72 million record spend on Nicolas Pepe in 2019.

Then-manager Unai Emery later claimed he preferred to sign Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha, but several circumstances — including Lille’s willingness to accept the fee on time terms – led to Pepe’s aspirations. And so when Arteta immediately approached the Kroenkes to find the £ 45m needed to sign Thomas Partey just a year later at Atletico Madrid, they had to make an enormous decision.

It was a simple deal, given that Partey had a release clause, but Atletico demanded that the full sum be paid in advance. Sources claim that Arsenal Partey had followed suit for several years, with former scout Francis Cagigao first identifying the midfielder in 2014 during a loan spell at another LaLiga side, Almeria. Although a possible transfer in 2019 was briefly discussed, Emery believed that priorities lay elsewhere in rebuilding the team, but this time Arteta was adamant that Partey would be the main component of his midfield, an area of ​​the field where Arsenal usually was weak.

Despite knowing that the buyout clause could be triggered at any time, the Gunners did so only on the morning of the deadline after the Kroenkes accepted Arteta’s recommendation, in collaboration with technical director Edu.

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Injuries limited the Party’s influence during his first season, and fears that the 2021-22 campaign would follow a similarly frustrating path grew in August when he missed Arsenal’s first three games with a single problem. All three ended in defeat. Since his return, the Gunners have won four, drawn one and kept four clean sheets in the process in all leagues.

These remain formative days in Arteta’s rebuilding, but Partey’s contribution will arguably be the most important factor in determining her success.

There is a silent stipulation about Partey that Arteta hopes to become the embodiment of the “new Arsenal”. Sources told ESPN that he was having the first difficulty in moving him to London, and a stop-start season on the field made his transition more complicated. He suffered a hip injury in November, a hip injury in December and January and a hamstring problem in February. Sources tell ESPN that Partey responded to any injury setbacks by deciding to do extra gym work in addition to his regular training program.

Partey has focused mainly on leg work, with the emphasis on strengthening his muscles to prevent recurring injuries, and considers the ankle problem he suffers in the pre-season, simply unfortunate, because it came after an over-zealous approach of Ruben Loftus-Cheek in a friendly against Chelsea. Sources, however, claim that the midfielder has also adjusted his diet. Although he is not a vegan, Partey has committed himself to reducing the occasional junk food he allows himself.



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Although Partey enjoys entertaining his 159.9k followers on TikTok, unlike many of his teammates, he is not a gamer, but more interested in reading books and playing card games. Sources also claim that he has become very close with Eddie Nketiah, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.

Partey was born in Ghana in the city of Odumase Krobo and shared heritage is at the heart of his relationship with Nketiah, who was born in London to Ghanaian parents. Martinelli and Partey are often seen sharing jokes together, with sources saying they hit it off almost immediately because of a similar sense of humor.

Party admires Odegaard’s football style, but more importantly, the couple has helped each other adapt to life in England. Both came from Madrid – Odegaard was on loan at Real Madrid last season before finally joining a permanent deal worth a maximum of £ 34m this summer – and the pair have long discussed the differences between Spanish and English football. Both have had many opportunities to explore London, but the relaxation of COVID-19 rules offers some more room in that regard and sources claim that Partey would like to learn more about the city.

As always, football comes first. Partey completed 90 minutes in the Premier League just 10 times last season, denying Arteta the chance to fully integrate his midfield dynamo.

Partey offers the physical presence in midfield that the Gunners have been missing for years, and he got his nickname “The Octopus” at Almeria “because I stole a lot of balls.” But his offer of passing and ability to drive forward with the ball gives him the potential to become a full-fledged midfielder. During the international break of October, Partey was switched to a more attacking role in the middle of the match against Zimbabwe in Saturday’s World Cup qualifier and immediately won the ball high on the field before falling into a low. right footed just inside the box for his 12th goal in 33 caps to turn the game in Ghana’s advantage.

His 13th goal came in the reverse fixture three days later, with the captain’s bracelet while Andre Ayew was named among the substitutes, with a powerful free kick that helped Ghana secure a second consecutive victory, giving them a point behind South -Africa hold on in their World Cup qualifying group with two matches left.

The importance of Granit Xhaka for Arteta remains high and the pair are clearly Arteta’s first choice in a 4-2-3-1 form, but there has long been a suspicion that the Arsenal manager will eventually want to switch to 4 -3-3, in particular to combat a lack of creativity in previous matches against defensive people.

The party’s position in the 1-0 win over Burnley on 18 September therefore felt significant. Arranged as the only defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 form with Xhaka suspended, Partey balanced his defensive functions, including falling in the back line to help deal with Burnley’s air threat, while Arteta also enabled Emile Smith Rowe, Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, Pepe and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in his starting lineup.

Other players have influenced hand-Aaron Ramsdale replacing Bernd Leno in goal, Takehiro Tomiyasu’s encouraging start at right-back and Gabriel’s return from injury – but it’s no coincidence that Partey’s return has seen a clear improvement in both performance and results. Next Monday’s clash between Arsenal and Crystal Palace will give Party a chance to prove he could be the midfield presence the Gunners have missed since Patrick Vieira, the man who will be in opposition.

“No Thomas, no Party,” he said on his arrival at Arsenal, a feeling Arteta has lost a considerable amount of his reputation. “He’s really important because he’s the anchor,” Arteta said last month. “He’s the one who needs to read what’s going on and make the rest better.”

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