I see that there are a few noises out there today (and last night) about us potentially using this summer as the opportunity to perhaps cash in on Thomas Partey, with apparent interest from Italy coming a few clubs, if you are to believe what is being sounded out online.
And with this one I’m really not sure. From the bits that I’ve read there are no massively credible sources who are saying this and all we have is a few journo articles saying that Arsenal were unhappy with his end of season form when it reached crunch period. I think we can all agree that his outputs diminished after the international break, but I don’t think that is isolated to just our Ghanaian; Martin Odegaard was voted – rightly – as our player of the season and yet he still put in some iffy performances. So to lump in on a Partey transfer to Italy just because he had a poor finish to the season, seems a little spurious to me.
I think there are a few reasons why this rumour probably won’t get off the ground. Firstly, let’s not forget just how good he was for most of last season. If we’re going to dish out some criticism on the player for the way the season ended then that’s fine, but let’s not ignore just how important he was for us for the vast bulk of the season that got us in to a position where we were at least competing for the league until towards the end.
I also think that with the world’s-worst-kept-secret with regards to Granit Xhaka likely to happen, I would be surprised to see that Arsenal would be prepared to rip out a second part of the midfield that served us so well for so long, based on a few games at the end. Arteta built something quite impressive last season and a dismantling the engine room of the team so easily would feel a little strange to me. I appreciate that we’re being linked with Rice who could potentially fit the six, or eight position in midfield, as well as Caicedo who can be that screen in front of the back four and looks a very impressive player indeed. But even though we could get cash for Thomas Partey from italy, I still don’t see Arsenal dropping the best part of £180million on completely rejigging our midfield with new personnel. It feels a little more like a root and branch change that we may not necessarily need.
But Arteta has shown that he is prepared to be ruthless, we have to acknowledge that, with Kieran Tierney being a guy who Arteta loved and said great things about but who now can’t get a look in at left back as we’ve switched up our system to a point in which he doesn’t fit any more. What if Arteta had something else in mind re; our midfield? What if the reason we are linked with both Rice and Caicedo is that he wants to play a little differently? What if the injury problems Partey has had, coupled with the fact that his age will mean diminishing returns on a transfer fee, means Arteta is already thinking about life after Partey and wants to make that move now? We’ve been heavily reliant on him spending a fair bit of time as the single screen six sitting in front of our defence and last season Xhaka was excellent in an advanced position. But maybe Arteta doesn’t want that for this coming season? I’ve seen a couple of interviews with Arteta towards the end of last season talking about how they need to try new stuff, different stuff, in the coming season and that he was willing to do a little more experimentation. Maybe he wants to change the style of the team up a little bit and it is only by making quite a dramatic change to the first XI that he feels he can do that?
There’s a lot of ‘maybe’ in there though, which is why I am less inclined to think we’ll move Partey on this summer and will probably earmark next summer as an opportunity to move him on. With two years left on his deal it isn’t inconceivable that we move him on this summer, but I just think we’ll be looking to build on what we already have, rather than cash in on a player who – when fit – has been integral to us.
The final point worth noting on this is where his potential destination would be. Italy? I find that doubtful. As we all know there isn’t any money in Italy and I can’t see any Italian clubs parting ways with the sort of money we’d want for Partey. I would place his value at around the £30 – £35million mark and Transfermarkt has his value at €38million, so my estimation seems about right. That sort of cash doesn’t really get spent that often in Italy so I can’t really see it happening. But I’m ok with that. We need to build, not break down, this summer. I think that is what is going on in Arteta’s mind and that’s why I think we’ll keep our Ghanaian around a little while longer yet.
I’m on the pod this evening doing a ‘one in, one out, one bangs’ with Akhil and my mate Merv Dinnen, if you fancy joining us at 7.30pm for half an hour. You can listen live on YouTube here if that sort of thing floats your boat. Or you can check out the show Amanda did on Monday with Kevin Campbell – was a good one.
Until then, I’m off in to work, so you guys have yourselves a good’un.
Catch you later peeps.