Just hours after Thomas Partey’s deadline day transfer from Atletico Madrid was completed, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta emphasised just how much his newest recruit would offer the squad.
He told Arsenal.com: “I think he allows us to play different formations and he can fit in within those formations in different positions, which is a really good thing to have in a squad where, in midfield, I think we were a little bit short.
“I have a few things in mind that I want to start to train with the team and [Partey’s signing] is going to give us a little bit more adaptability and more balance in defending and attacking transitions and the way we have to set up certain structures to attack better in certain moments of the game.”
Arteta’s long-term ambition is to see the Gunners play 4-3-3, rather than the more conservative 3-4-3 he has been forced to play in the early months of his tenure.
The biggest issue that has came up since Arteta’s hiring last year has been the lack of a real link between midfield and attack. Dani Ceballos has offered that at times, but his place in the line-up has left the Gunners a little light in the centre of the park.
But Partey’s arrival looks set to change that, where despite playing as a defensive-minded midfielder at the Wanda Metropolitano, he has much more to offer.
Diego Simeone used the Ghana international in a deep-lying position for much of his stay in Spain, but speaking earlier this summer, the Argentinian admitted there was much more to his game.
“Thomas is the one who best understands this position and the transition from defence to attack, shooting, scoring, providing assists and playing passes between the lines,” Simeone said back in June.
“When he’s at his best level consistently, he’s so good that all the best teams in Europe are looking at him.”
Partey is in line for his Arsenal debut this weekend and it could scarcely have been a more difficult opening assignment.
A trip to the Etihad will see Partey contend with the likes of Rodri, Kevin de Bruyne, Phil Foden et al., but he is ready to play wherever Arteta feels he will be most useful.
“Wherever I need to play to help the team, I will play there and try my best to help the team,” he said in his first interview with the club.
“[Arteta has] seen me play and he knows what I can give to the team. My previous team have done a lot and he’s seen me play and he feels that I can do the same for him.”
The 27-year-old has admitted that he has his eyes on the Premier League title and if he can provide the missing ingredient in midfield, it could go a long way.