Arsenal offered both Matteo Guendouzi and Alexandre Lacazette to Atletico Madrid in an attempt to strike a deal for Thomas Partey but the Spanish side were not interested.
The Gunners have been pursuing the Ghanaian midfielder over the summer but have failed to make a breakthrough in discussions for his signature. Partey has a £45m release clause in his Atletico contract and the club is insistent that Arsenal must meet that price if they want to sign him.
Money is tight at Arsenal, especially after the arrival of Gabriel Magalhaes for £27m from Lille, and they are unlikely to stump up the £45m, so have been trying to negotiate a deal that involves swapping players.
Guendouzi, who became something of an outcast under Mikel Arteta towards the end of the season, and Lacazette were both offered in exchange for Partey, but Atletico did not take the bait, according to Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano.
‘For sure they spoke with Atletico Madrid,’ Romano said on Lee Gunner’s YouTube channel. ‘It was during the meeting they had for Thomas, the first time it was in July.Embed from Getty Images
‘They spoke about Matteo Guendouzi and they spoke also about Lacazette, but at the moment, Atletico Madrid was not going for Lacazette.’
A deal for Partey is not entirely dead, but Arsenal must either come up with the funds or players that Atletico are actually interested in to manage a swap deal.
The pressure is building as both Paris Saint-Germain and Inter Milan have now been credited with an interest in the midfielder and either could be willing to meet his release clause.