Thomas Partey could be allowed to leave Arsenal after just one season at the Emirates Stadium, according to reports in Spain.
Partey joined Arsenal on deadline day in October after they triggered his €50m release clause. The midfielder moved from Atletico Madrid, while Lucas Torreira went the other way on loan. But neither move has particularly worked out.
Torreira has struggled for gametime in the Spanish capital and now has his heart set on a return to South America. Arsenal will have to find a solution for him in the summer.
But they also must work out what to do with Partey. The Ghana international has had various injury problems and was criticised by Mikel Arteta earlier in the season for his role in a goal Arsenal conceded.
So far, the 27-year-old has managed 20 appearances in the Premier League, 15 of which were starts. He has provided two assists in those games.
But Arsenal are still looking for the right balance in their midfield. Indeed, goalkeeper Bernd Leno recently claimed they needed to sign an “ankle biter” in that position.
Partey has good qualities both in and out of possession but he is not that kind of player. Hence, if Arsenal take Leno’s advice, they may have to bring someone else in.
According to Todofichajes, the Gunners are now thinking about selling Partey just one year into his contract, which still runs until 2025.
With Torreira not staying with Atletico, it is speculated that Partey could also be returned to sender. Arsenal will try to recoup the €50m fee they spent if Atleti can stump it up.
Diego Simeone is said to be keen for his side to take Partey back to Spain. The report points to how they re-signed Filipe Luis and Diego Costa after mixed spells with Chelsea.
Despite earning €50m from Partey’s transfer last year, Atletico do not have the funds to sign him for that value. Hence, they may have to spread the payments over multiple years or take him on an initial loan deal.
But Arteta does not see him as “untouchable”, so Arsenal could be open for negotiations.
Partey backed to come good
Despite his indifferent debut season in England, Partey remains a top quality player and his former Atletico midfield partner Saul Niguez recently backed him to overcome his struggles.
Saul told Live Score last month: “I think he’s been very unlucky because of injuries, especially now that in the UK they are more confined like we were in Spain some months ago.
“It’s difficult because he started pre-season with us and then he left without finishing it. He tried to play every game, he got injured, then he tried to come back before the correct time.
“Everything has been a bit unfortunate, but I think next season will be a great season for him.”
Whether he spends that season playing for Arsenal or back alongside Saul in Madrid remains to be seen.