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Thomas Partey to Arsenal? Silly season is here!

So we’re doing the Thomas Partey dance again, eh?

Levante UD v Club Atletico de Madrid - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

The Thomas Partey to Arsenal transfer rumor that won’t go away, shockingly, isn’t going away. Football Ghana reported today that the Gunners are set to trigger the Ghanaian midfielder’s £45M release clause from Atlético Madrid. I know absolutely nothing about the credibility of Football Ghana. Combine that with the fact that all transfer rumors should be taken with a grain of salt (size may vary), and you’ve got a massive neon sign that says “WARNING: CLICKBAIT.”

But there’s been a lot of noise around Arsenal and Partey as we head a towards more transfer disappointment and agent pocket-lining the summer transfer window, so it’s good to lay down a marker. This almost certainly isn’t going to happen. Arsenal can’t afford it.

It’s unclear whether Partey would be a good add for Arsenal anyway. He just turned 27. He has productive seasons ahead of him, but the Gunners may not be positioned to take advantage of those prime years. Next year for Arsenal should be a throwaway, one where the bulk of the squad is still pre-Arteta. Two years from now, the club will be in the thick of the transition. Three years from now is when I expect Arteta to really have made his mark. By then, Partey will be 30.

As for Partey’s abilities, I’ve seen mixed things. There are stat radars out there that have me saying “hard pass” and there are other in-depth analyses that make him look like exactly the player Arsenal need in terms of ball-progression, pressing, and ability to break up play. The reality is probably somewhere in between. I’ve seen him put in world-beating shifts (the performance over both legs against Liverpool in the Champions League comes to mind) and also completely disappear from matches.

The only real way I see Arsenal acquiring Partey is through a swap deal with Atleti. Diego Simeone is said to be keen on Alexandre Lacazette, but according to ESPN, the clubs “have not yet explored this option in any serious detail” because Arsenal don’t want to move Lacazette without clarity on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. An injury to Gabriel Martinelli that could have the young Brazilian out for a few months muddies the water even more.

TL;DR Thomas Partey to Arsenal probably ain’t happenin’.