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Thomas Partey wants to be more than just a defensive midfielder with Arsenal, hoping to develop his game in the attacking third as well.
Due to the prevailing narrative around Arsenal being a bit of a soft touch in midfield, there was a lot more focus on Thomas Partey’s defensive attributes when he completed his move to the club on deadline day.
Many pundits talked about him shielding the back four, and taking some pressure off the defence. But there were also those who pointed out Partey has more to his game than just ball-winning.
The player himself insists he wants to have an impact offensively as well.
“I like to be both defensive and offensive,” Partey said. “I know whenever I am in the opposite area, I have chances for a goal and I think defensively, I want to be stronger.
“I want to attack like Yaya Toure and defend like Michael Essien so to have both qualities is good.
“Whenever there is a serious game, or in any game, I like to go with surprises. Most people see me as a defensive midfielder but with my intelligence and how I read the game, if we’re near the end of the game and we’re going to finish with 2-0, that’s when I go for my goal.”
A former midfielder himself, Mikel Arteta should have plenty of experience to impart on Partey as his manager. The Ghana international is reaching peak age in his career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t push on and reach a new level with the right advice.
“Playing in the midfield, you have to be mentally quick and be intelligent in how you position yourself and get the ball,” Partey admitted.
“Mikel [Arteta] is helping me a lot because we always have the ball so you have time to think and position yourself. I think with time, I’ll get used to everything and most things will come after that.”
We’ve already seen glimpses of what Partey can do on the ball, from his impressive debut against Rapid Vienna. However, perhaps the Arsenal starting lineup need to get used to having him around, as they didn’t play it into him enough against Leicester City.
If Partey can make himself just as useful on the ball as off it, it shouldn’t take long for his teammates to catch on.