Arsenal ‘earmark’ Prem star and £53m Spaniard as Thomas Partey replacements

Arsenal have reportedly earmarked two players who could replace the injury-prone Thomas Partey. Martin Zubimendi and Douglas Luiz are both long-term targets and are claimed to still be admired by manager Mikel Arteta and sporting director Edu.

Partey is set for another few weeks on the sidelines with a muscle injury picked up in training. The Ghana star only returned from a groin issue at the beginning of October which had kept him out for a month.

He has started just three Premier League games this season and none since August. Injuries have been a common theme for Partey since he joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid in 2020.

The 30-year-old made just 48 league appearances in his first two campaigns in north London but improved that return with 33 last term. However, the latest injury blow could be set to spark Arsenal into action in the transfer market.

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Caught Offside claims that there is growing frustration at Partey’s lack of availability this season. And Zubimendi and Luiz are two players Arsenal could target to replace him.

Zubimendi, 24, plays for Real Sociedad in La Liga and was linked with the Gunners in January. He still has three-and-a-half years remaining on his contract but does have a release clause of around £53million.

Luiz, meanwhile, has had a fine start to the season under Unai Emery at Aston Villa. Arsenal had three bids rejected for the Brazilian in the summer of 2022.

The report says getting Luiz out of Villa would be tough as he is enjoying his time under Emery. The 25-year-old, who has six goals to his name this term, signed a new contract last October to keep him at Villa Park until 2026.

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Partey has just over 18 months remaining on his Arsenal deal, so a decision will likely need to be made soon on his future. Saudi Pro League clubs were interested in signing him in the summer window.

Arteta admitted it was a concern to lose Partey again. He said on Tuesday: “It is a big concern because when Thomas is fit and available and he’s been part of the team, we’ve seen the results and the impact that he had.

“This season we have more protection especially for that reason because we know in the last two seasons what has happened and the result it had on the team. We had to address that and now it has happened.

“It can happen in football and I’m so sorry for him because I think he is doing every single thing he can do right to be there. He was gutted and we are for him, but he needs to lift himself up again with our support and go again because he’s a player that is critical for us.”

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