Premier League • England

Thomas Partey: Mikel Arteta confirms final decision on Arsenal future after giving real reason for Declan Rice capture

Arsenal midfielder Thomas Partey

Mikel Arteta has announced that he wants Thomas Partey to remain part of his Arsenal squad – and believes the midfielder is on the same page.

Partey’s future has been called into question after interest from Saudi Arabia. Al Ahli have become contenders to take him to the Middle East after also signing Edouard Mendy from Chelsea and Roberto Firmino from Liverpool this summer, as well as lining up Riyad Mahrez from Manchester City.

The fact that Arsenal have broken their own transfer record to sign Declan Rice from West Ham this summer in the same position has Partey could have consequences for the Ghana international.

That said, Arsenal already cleared space in their midfield by selling Granit Xhaka earlier in the transfer window. Thus, it has always seemed questionable whether they would ditch their starting midfield pair from last season entirely.

And Arteta has now confirmed he is keen for the ‘super important’ Partey to commence a fourth season at Arsenal.

Asked at a pre-season press conference if he wants Partey to stay, Arteta replied: “Without a question of a doubt.

“Thomas is a super important player for us and for me. I want him to be part of the team. That’s for sure.”

Partey staying is Arteta’s hope, but asked if it was his expectation too, the manager simply answered: “Yes.”

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As for whether Arteta has held any talks with Partey about his priority, the Spaniard said: “No.

“Every time I spoke to him and had a conversation with him he’s ready to stay with us. For me, there’s nothing there at all.”

Partey still has two years remaining on the contract he signed when joining Arsenal from Atletico Madrid in 2020.

Arteta insists Partey can play with Rice

After the addition of Rice – plus the signing of Kai Havertz from Chelsea, who may be used in a similar role to Martin Odegaard – Arsenal’s midfield is evolving.

But Arteta still has a place in his plans for Partey alongside his new record recruit.

Arteta concluded: “Yeah. They can play together. That was in my plans.

“If you want to improve the squad and have more quality you need players that can improve the squad and players in the same position that can fight for the same places.

“It’s something that we haven’t had in the last few years. We wanted to improve that. That’s why we bought Declan as well.”

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