Thomas Partey to Arsenal: Atletico offer transfer boost, £30m Lacazette deal, £27m Plan B
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta’s interest in Atletico Madrid holder Thomas Partey is nothing new, with the Ghanaian well known to be the Spanish coach’s top summer target in midfield. Arteta wants to strengthen the spine of his side and sees Partey as the ideal player to offer extra steel and skill in midfield.
Partey, who can play as a No 6 or in a box-to-box role, has a £45million release clause in his contract – which the Gunners cannot currently afford.
But having signed Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares and Willian – with £27m defender Gabriel Magalhaes to follow – Arteta will hope to oversee sales that can help raise funds for a swoop for Partey, who has not signed a new Atletico contract despite Los Rojiblancos having long been keen to tie him down to fresh terms.
Express Sport brings you all the latest news regarding Partey’s potential move to Arsenal.
Ghana boss’ verdict
Head coach of the Ghana national team CK Akonnor thinks Partey should snub a potential move to Arsenal to sign a new contract at Atletico Madrid.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t want him to move to Arsenal because with Atletico, he will always play Champions League football. His position is guaranteed and he will always play,” Akonnor told Ghanaian radio stadion Starr FM.
“With Arsenal, I’m not too sure. Arsenal fans will kill me [for saying he should not join the Gunners].
“I hope that, and I’m sure money issues will come in, but I hope that whatever he asks for, Atletico will be able to pay.”
Atletico Madrid transfer boost
Atletico Madrid may be prepared to soften their stance on Thomas Partey, as the club close in on the signing of Marc Roca.
According to some reports in France, two bids have been rejected by Arsenal for Partey, both of which were player-plus-cash offers.
The arrival of Catalonian Roca could help the Gunners in negotiations – though it appears it will still take £45m to land Partey.
Partey wage demands
Partey reportedly wants as much as £200,000 a week if he is to join Arsenal, The Athletic’s David Ornstein has revealed.
That would make him Arsenal’s third-highest paid player with Mesut Ozil, who is expected to leave in 2021, on £350,000 a week and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new contract to put him on £250,000 a week once his new deal is announced imminently.
“First up Thomas Partey, we know he’s been Arsenal’s main target for the central midfield role this summer,” Ornstein said on the Tifo Podcast’s Ask Ornstein show.
“He’s been on their radar for a number of years and I don’t think it would be a case of whether he wants to come.
“It’s whether Arsenal can strike the deal. It’s very simple from Atletico Madrid’s perspective, he’s got a €50m release clause, if Arsenal or anybody else pays it, then it’s up to him what he wants to do.
“I don’t think they’ll accept anything less than the release clause. I think Arsenal and people on their behalf have suggested swaps with the likes of Matteo Guendouzi, Alexandre Lacazette, but Atletico have been very clear that they want the release clause paid.
“It’s not as straightforward as some may think because Arsenal will have to pay the release clause in one go, as is the case in Spain, and that will also have tax on top of it which will add a few more million euros.
“And Thomas Partey will command a very high salary, I’m told in excess of £200,000 a week, so they’ll hope to get that deal done but it’s not easy at all.”
Arsenal will sell Alexandre Lacazette to Atletico for £30m once Aubameyang’s new deal is confirmed, it has been claimed by the Daily Star.
And the Frenchman’s sale would significantly improve Arsenal’s cash reserves as they seek to raise the money to meet Partey’s £45m release clause.
The deal for Lacazette would also surely hope Arteta’s chances of raiding Diego Simeone of one of his favoured players.
Atletico have been insistent that they will not do a swap deal for Partey because they want his valuation met in full, but it has been suggested elsewhere that instead of paying Arsenal’s valuation for Lacazette, they could offer players in return.
Partey is not on that list, however, with it mooted that the Spanish giants would look to include Thomas Lemar, Angel Correa or Vitolo in a player-plus-cash deal.
Lacazette, who recently turned 29, has just two years left on his contract at the Emirates.
£27m Plan B
Arsenal have expressed interest in Roma’s Amadou Diawara as a cheaper alternative to Atletico’s Partey.
Arteta wants a dominant defensive midfielder through the doors at London Colney and Diawara would be available at around £27m (€30m).
The Daily Telegraph previously reported that Arsenal have signalled their admiration for the 23-year-old Guinean but that conversations with Roma have not been formal.
Now, however, reports from Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport suggest the Italians would be open to a deal which would see Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira move the other way.
But Arsenal would reportedly prefer just to pay Diawara’s £27m valuation and it is said they will soon launch an approach for the player.
Arsenal will consider the sale of a raft of players in order to sign Partey, Sky Sports say.
Arteta still wants to bring Dani Ceballos back to the Emirates after his season-long loan from Real Madrid last term and would seemingly like to partner him with Partey in midfield.
And Sky Sports suggest Matteo Guendouzi, Lacazette, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Mohamed Elneny, Torreira, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Sead Kolasinac are among those who could be sold to raise funds.
It is said that Arteta does not particularly want to sell Lacazette but the striker could attract a healthy fee and is no longer a guaranteed starter.
Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis are others who could leave having entered the final 12 months of their Arsenal contracts.
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