Arsenal news: Simeone comments on Partey suggest Arsenal have signed their new Vieira | Football | Sport
Mikel Arteta is set to get to work with Thomas Partey this week with the Ghanaian in line to make his Gunners debut at Manchester City on Saturday. Arsenal sealed a last-gasp £45million deal for the Atletico Madrid midfielder on deadline day, depositing his release clause with La Liga.
The deal saw Lucas Torreira go the other way on loan but the feeling in north London is that they’ve pulled off a major coup and a potentially game-changing signing.
Partey was Arsenal’s top transfer target and has been since before the coronavirus pandemic.
He’s a player widely respected and admired by the club’s hierarchy and Arteta is now relishing the chance to work with him.
The 27-year-old will bring huge technical quality to Arsenal’s midfield and his relentless energy from box-to-box will provide the Gunners with the bite they’ve been lacking.
Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey brings the kind of qualities once on show from Patrick Vieira
Diego Simeone knows Partey better than anyone, having worked with for five years in the Spanish capital.
If his comments are anything to go by, Arsenal may have acquired another Patrick Vieira.
“Thomas is the one who best understands this position and the transition from defence to attack, shooting, scoring, providing assists and playing passes between the lines,” Simeone said in June.
“When he’s at his best level consistently, he’s so good that all the best teams in Europe are looking at him.”
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Arsenal were renowned for their presence in midfield but in the past few years the Gunners have proved to be a soft touch in that department.
Vieira was the epitome of Wenger’s most successful Arsenal terms and embodied their quality and fighting spirit as captain.
He won three Premier League titles and three FA Cups in north London and remains one of the greatest ever Premier League midfielders.
Break down his qualities and there are huge similarities to new signing Partey. The former Atletico star loves to sweep up defensively and lead the transition into attack.
He is a willing ball carrier and runner with an eye for a pass, whether short or long.
His versatility was on show on Monday for Ghana, in the 5-1 win over Qatar as Partey set up two goals with two exquisite passes.
The first was through the eye of a needle, threading the ball through the smallest of gaps to pick out his teammate in a crowded penalty box.
For the second, he dropped deep into a quarterback role, launching a lofted pass right over the top, splitting the Qatar defence in two.
Arsenal have been starved of creativity from deep since the days of Cesc Fabregas.
Now the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nicolas Pepe are set to profit from Partey’s precision and range.
Like Vieira, he will also need no second invitation to arrive in the box.
As Simeone said, shooting and scored is part of the package with Partey and he has the desire to get himself into the final third.
In Partey, Arsenal have unearthed the closest thing to Patrick Vieira since he left the club in 2005
His qualities could help propel Arteta’s side to a new level and the Spaniard believes he also offers the Gunners tactical flexibility.
“I think he allows us to play different formations and he can fit in within those formations in different positions, which is a really good thing to have in a squad where, in midfield, I think we were a little bit short,” Arteta said.
“I have a few things in mind that I want to start to train with the team and [Partey’s signing] is going to give us a little bit more adaptability and more balance in defending and attacking transitions and the way we have to set up certain structures to attack better in certain moments of the game.”
Vieira comparisons will carry little burden for Partey, who is not phased by any challenge or occasion.