Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta splashed around £45milllion on the acquisition of Thomas Partey from Spanish giants Atletico Madrid — but the Gunners chief is being vague about when he might throw the bustling midfielder into the action.
The game in question is the keenly anticipated Premier League encounter with Manchester City on Saturday at the Etihad Stadium and when quizzed on his latest recruit, snaffled from the Spanish capital just before the transfer deadline window closed, the Emirates Stadium chief was coy.
Ghana ace Partey, who is aged 27, had his first training session today (Thursday) but Arteta has hinted that the game against his former side, bossed by his pal and former colleague Pep Guardiola, may come too quickly for him to participate as part of the Arsenal squad.
Arteta says that the club knew before he was signed him that he was fit. Speaking to the press ahead of the game, the Gunners supremo said Partey is very willing to start playing and his fitness will be assessed in the next few days.
“I have seen the buzz around the place, the fans are really happy,”
“I have seen some really positive reactions after we bought him, the same with the team, the squad and the staff. I think he is a player we had the radar on for a long time and we have managed to bring him in and I think he will be a really important addition to the team.”
Arteta also revealed that Partey has already got to know some of his team-mates but not all of them — as some are still on international duty — but with players all returning today he will be able to get to know everyone.
Meanwhile, full-back Kieran Tierney is racing the clock to be involved in the match at Manchester City after being in quarantine following close contact with Scotland team-mate Stuart Armstrong, who tested positive for Covid-19. He needs the green light on the period of his quarantine being reduced because of a negative test.
And Arteta said:
“It is getting very complicated when we are sending players abroad and obviously you lose control. Some authorities have different regulations to the actual ones in the Premier League. We are still having some discussions with the authorities and hopefully we will know more soon.”
You only need to look at the top-flight league table to see that Manchester City have not had the best start to their campaign and as they sit in 14th position in the standings, they will reflect on an unlikely run of results – perhaps the most alarming for them was losing 5-2 at home to Leicester City.
But Arteta says he expects a big test none the less and having the confidence from a 2-1 home win over Sheffield United last time of asking means the contest will be one worth watching. He concluded that he is really happy with the way his side managed to win the match against the Blades and how patient his players were to achieve the victory but that he knows the level of difficulty at Manchester City will be “another level”.