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Arsenal moved swiftly in the final hours of the transfer window to secure the signing of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid, but the Ghana international is no knee-jerk, panic buy.
Arsenal turned their attention to the 27-year-old after they failed to agree a fee with Lyon for their star midfielder Houssem Aouar, but they have been tracking Partey and monitoring his situation for well over a year.
Indeed, according The Guardian, Unai Emery was keen on signing the player following his one and only full season in charge of the Gunners, and even went to scout Partey in person during a game against Levante in May 2019.
With a lack of funds at his disposal, Emery is said to have prioritised the signing of a winger.
The Spaniard, who was sacked 11 months ago, wanted to recruit Crystal Palace’s Wilfried Zaha but was overruled by the Arsenal hierarchy who sanctioned the club record purchase of Nicolas Pepe instead.
Arsenal and Mikel Arteta have finally landed one of their key, long-term targets but will have to wait a little longer to hand their £45million recruit his debut with the Gunners not back in action until after the international break, but that has not tempered the manager’s enthusiasm.
‘We have been watching Thomas for a while, so we’re now delighted to add such a high quality player to our squad,’ said Arteta.
‘He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level in La Liga and the Champions League for several years.
‘We’re very impressed with his attitude and his approach to the game. He’s an intelligent footballer and we’re looking forward to him integrating into our system and contributing to the progress we’re building at the moment at the club.’
Partey is Arsenal’s most significant signing of the summer, complimenting fellow new arrivals Willian and Gabriel.
The Ghanaian is set to wear the No.18 shirt at the Emirates, which was last worn by Nacho Monreal before his departure in 2019.