Arsenal are believed to be leading the chase for Atletico Madrid midfield destroyer Thomas Partey and have already put down a €50million bid on the table.
The 26-year-old Ghanaian international recently caught the eye of English viewers with a robust and classy display at Anfield as Atletico stunned holders Liverpool with a 3-2 win in the second leg to advance to the quarter-finals of the Champions League.
He’s become a key man for Diego Simeone’s side and his impressive performance against Jurgen Klopp’s men has again put some of Europe’s big clubs on alert.
But it’s Arsenal who appear to be leading the race according to a report in Corriere dello Sport.
The Italian newspaper claim that Arsenal have ‘€50m on the table’ for Partey, who is now ‘one step away’ from a move to the Emirates.
While the Gunners have Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi on their books, the defensive midfield role has been a problem position for many years, the vast majority of Arsenal fans still believing that they’ve never come close to replacing club legend and former skipper Patrick Vieira.
Partey would certainly be a major upgrade as new boss Mikel Arteta continues his rebuilding job having taken over in December.
The potential deal with Partey is part of a transfer merry-go-round with several moving parts.
Several clubs are involved and Barcelona are seeking to strengthen with a move for striker Lautaro Martinez from Inter as well as a bid for Atletico midfielder Saul, who scored the only goal in Atletico’s key 1-0 win over Liverpool in the first leg.
Atletico are reported to be reluctant to sell Saul as Corriere claim they are ‘preparing to lose another key midfielder’ in Partey.
That suggests Arsenal are further down the line with their bid than first thought although the situation with the coronavirus outbreak further confuses the picture with all the major football leagues suspended and transfer moves put on hold.
Partey has played 35 times for Atletico this season and his willingness to put a boot in shows up in his yellow card count which currently stands at 13. Ten of those have come in La Liga.
The man from Ghana, who enjoyed previous spells in Spain with Mallorca and Almeria, has also scored three times for the Madrid outfit.
Liverpool, themselves, were reported to be interested in signing Partey in the summer of 2018 but instead chose to spend the money on goalkeeper Alisson Becker. They were also committed to buying a defensive midfielder of their own, with a £42million move for Fabinho from Monaco already in place.