LONDON • The £45 million (S$79.3 million) Arsenal shelled out for Thomas Partey on Monday could prove to be a bargain, former Gunners forward Paul Merson has said.
Merson added that the 27-year-old Ghanaian midfielder, who arrived from Atletico Madrid in what was the biggest move on transfer deadline day, would bring discipline and quality to the side.
“I think Thomas Partey is a top drawer player. I nearly fell off my chair with £45 million, I don’t think that’s a lot of money at all for the quality of player,” Merson, who played for Arsenal between 1985-97, told Sky Sports.
“One thing he brings as well is discipline. Atletico Madrid are probably one of the most disciplined teams in Europe and he will do that.
“He’s not a midfielder that goes running all over the place… I think he will be a great signing.”
Partey has been a long-term target for the Gunners, who activated his release clause in hopes of bolstering their options in central midfield.
“He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level in La Liga and the Champions League for several years,” said Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta.
Uruguayan international Lucas Torreira has gone the other way on a season-long loan deal.
Arsenal have made an impressive start to the season, winning three of their opening four Premier League games, as they aim to return to the Champions League next season for the first time in five years.
However, the Londoners have been short in midfield with Mesut Ozil and Matteo Guendouzi, who has joined Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan, frozen out by Arteta.
Partey was part of the Atletico sides that reached the 2016 Champions League final and beat Arsenal on the way to winning the Europa League in 2018.
He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level.
MIKEL ARTETA, Arsenal manager on Ghana international Thomas Partey’s best attributes.
A tough-tackling midfielder with an eye for goal, he scored 16 times in 188 appearances for Atletico since breaking into the first team in 2015.
“He is a leader on and off the pitch, and he is exactly the kind of player we want at the club,” said Arsenal’s technical director Edu.
“With his all-round game and positive aggressive style, he will be a brilliant addition to our squad.”
Partey will join up with his new teammates next week after he returns from international duty.
Arsenal have also signed Willian, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, Gabriel Magalhaes and Dani Ceballos as they bid to improve on their eighth-placed finish last season.
Meanwhile, fellow Premier League club Manchester United were also busy on transfer deadline day with four new signings.
United signed veteran Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani on a free transfer, Brazilian left-back Alex Telles from Porto, Uruguayan 18-year-old winger Facundo Pellistri and also reached an agreement to sign Atalanta’s teenage winger Amad Diallo.
Cavani, 33, and Telles, 27, are set to be integrated into the first team.
Pellistri joined from Club Atletico Penarol on a five-year contract, with an option to extend for a further year. The speedy teenager has featured 37 times for the Uruguayan Primera Division club and will go into United’s youth team. Highly-rated Ivorian Diallo, 18, whose signing could cost United up to £37 million including add-ons, will not join until January due to work permit issues.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS