Unai Emery was spotted in attendance at Atletico Madrid vs. Levante at the weekend, as the La Liga season draws to a close.
The Gunners still have football to play with a Europa League final coming up, but Emery appears to already have one eye on the transfer market.
His gaze looks to have taken him to Madrid, where the Spaniard was believed to be watching Thomas Partey. Whilst many would like the Gunners to sign a central defender and winger this summer, it’s clear Emery also wants to replace Aaron Ramsey and Partey is a player that could do that.
An energetic presence in midfield is a must for Emery’s system, as is a player that can turn defence into attack, carrying the ball through midfield. Partey is slightly more defensive minded that Ramsey, but he is a player that is capable of playing in a box-to-box role.
The Ghanaian international has excelled in more advanced areas especially for his country, where he has scored 7 goals in 17 appearances.
Partey has been at Atletico Madrid since 2015 and in that time, he’s become an integral part of Diego Simeone’s team. But the African midfielder has a £43million release clause, and several clubs, including Arsenal, have been linked with triggering that clause.
But if Arsenal try and sign an Atletico player, they could have the Spanish club after one of theirs.
Arsenal hit the jackpot when they managed to sign Alexandre Lacazette for £40million. Now, Atletico are one of a number of clubs interested in signing the Frenchman, and the Gunners could easily command a fee of around double that amount.
The key benefit for Arsenal is that Lacazette doesn’t have a release clause like Partey, so if the Gunners offer £43million, Atletico cannot stand in the players way. Whilst Lacazette is under contract at Arsenal though, they set the asking price.
Partey turns 26 next month and so is approaching the prime years of his career. Standing at 6ft 1’, Partey would bring lots of quality to the Arsenal midfield instantly.
Arsenal are already actively looking for new players and are said to be in pole position to sign Samuel Umtiti as they also look to strengthen their defence this summer.