Arsenal may well come to feel that they made a mistake in not selling Thomas Partey this summer.
There was certainly transfer interest in Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey in the recent summer transfer window.
According to The Daily Mail, Saudi Arabian club Al-Ahli targeted Partey. However, no deal was struck, and Mikel Arteta was insistent throughout the summer that he was keen to keep the player at the Emirates Stadium for the upcoming campaign.
Arsenal paid £45 million to activate the Ghanaian’s Atletico Madrid release clause in 2020. The 30-year-old has since established himself as a key figure in the Gunners’ starting XI when fit. However, fitness has been a serious issue for Partey since his arrival in north London.
The midfielder has missed several crucial games in each of his three full seasons at Arsenal so far. What’s more, he is currently sidelined again. According to The Evening Standard, the 45-cap Ghana international is set to be out “for a while.” This could mean that he is unavailable for Arsenal’s upcoming Premier League clashes with Everton and Tottenham Hotspur.
This is less of an issue for Arteta than it has been in the past, given the Gunners paid a club-record fee of £105 million to sign Declan Rice this summer. Partey’s importance to the squad has been somewhat reduced by the 24-year-old’s arrival. Perhaps this means that Arsenal should have cashed in this summer.
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In a comparable deal, Saudi Arabian outfit Al-Ittihad paid £40 million to sign Fabinho from Liverpool. If Arsenal could have done a deal close to this fee for Partey, they may have just about broken even on the player. This could have allowed them to invest in a replacement, or perhaps even keep Granit Xhaka at the club.
The deal to get Fabinho out of Liverpool proves that excellent selling opportunities were there for players of that type.
As things stand, Partey remains at Arsenal, getting older, his contract getting shorter, and with his injury issues likely to only get worse. He is quickly becoming a harder player to sell, and even harder to rely upon to be fit. There is no doubting his quality when he is available, but the current situation means that his presence is holding the club back.
Arsenal were presented with the perfect time to move on from Partey this summer but let it pass them by. That could prove to have been a huge mistake.