It seems as if Arsenal’s move for Thomas Partey has been in the works for months now. The Atletico Madrid midfielder apparently caught the eye of the north London outfit around a year ago, when Unai Emery was still at the helm. Although nothing materialized last summer, the Gunners are hoping that they can strike a deal with the La Liga club for their midfield enforcer.
While labeled a defensive midfielder, Partey can practically do it all from the middle of the pitch. Not one to just sit in front of defense and clean up, the Ghana international is full of energy and is constantly looking forward when on the ball. Yes, the 26-year-old midfielder can be break up play and make interceptions deep in his own territory; however, his ability is much more than that.
Partey currently has the second-most successful dribbles among central/defensive midfielders in La Liga play this season. He regularly receives (or takes) the ball and progresses it up the pitch to turn defense into offense. And it’s not even just the total amount of completed dribbles that’s so impressive, it’s also the fact that his dribble success rate is an astounding 87% during the current campaign. This is a higher percentage than Frenkie de Jong, Luka Modric, Martin Odegaard, and Santi Cazorla.
Along with his ability to turn up pitch, Partey is also a very good passer. While his 83% total pass success rate isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, the Ghanaian ranks highly in accurate long balls (76) and long ball success rate (55%). Partey also performs well in the air. He has won 42 of 62 (68%) aerial duels in league play this season. No Arsenal central/defensive midfielder currently has more than 33 aerial duels won or a higher than 50% success rate in this category.
Despite all of these impressive offensive achievements, Partey is still a defensive powerhouse. The ability to tackle and make timely interceptions are undoubtedly a significant part of this player’s arsenal. He currently ranks ninth in interceptions and eleventh in tackles from the middle of the pitch during La Liga this season. It’s safe to say that there doesn’t seem to be much of a weak spot in the Ghanaian’s game.
Arsenal have needs in multiple positions heading into the summer. Center back, attacking midfield, and competition at right back are all places that the team’s brass will look to strengthen. The Gunners do currently have Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira, Matteo Guendouzi, and Ainsley Maitland-Niles as competition for the two central midfield starting spots.
Although reinforcements in this particular position may not necessarily be needed, there are not too many available players in the world with the ability that Partey possesses. A deal for the Atletico midfielder could, and perhaps should, be too sweet to pass on.
SEE MORE: Read our interview with Arsenal America
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