Arsenal star Thomas Partey has yet again been linked with a move to Juventus after a summer window full of speculation that he could depart North London.
Rumours have circulated in recent days that the midfielder, who is currently injured, could push for a move to the Italian giants in January if he does not regain a starting spot when he returns to action.
Arsenal spent a club-record £105m to bring in Declan Rice during the summer transfer window, who has shone in Partey’s usual defensive midfield role.
Partey started as an inverted right-back in his three Premier League appearances so far before picking up an injury which will now keep him out for the next few weeks.
The 30-year-old has struggled with injuries throughout his Arsenal career, but when fit, is one of his side’s best and most crucial players.
Arsenal cannot sell Partey in January
With Rice, Partey and Jorginho, Arsenal have excellent depth and variety in the defensive midfield position, with all three players offering something different to the role.
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Partey, who was once described as “important” by former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour, started in midfield alongside Rice in the Community Shield, and both players shone as the Gunners impressed against Man City.
However, he is yet to start in his natural position since. Once he returns, Mikel Arteta should consider reverting back to this midfield shape, with Rice playing in a more attacking position, and Partey bringing physicality and world-class ball retention skills to the middle of the park.
A midfield three of Partey, Rice and Martin Odegaard has the potential to be one of the best in the world, and selling Partey would not only reduce Arsenal’s depth, but also remove him as an important option for tougher games.
If Partey does leave, Arsenal would have to find a replacement, and given the fee needed to bring in someone of Rice’s quality and caliber, finding someone who can replicate what Partey brings to the side is easier said than done.