Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has convinced Arsenal counterpart Mikel Arteta with a plan to send Thomas Partey to The Emirates, according to a report.
Several reports in recent weeks have claimed Ghanaian midfielder Partey is the Gunners’ top target.
However, his reported €50million release clause is allegedly a significant roadblock for Arsenal. Indeed, Arteta has already admitted fears over the club’s willingness to back him financially.
As such, other suggestions are that the clubs could agree a straight swap, or a players-plus-cash offer.
According to Don Balon, Atletico boss Simeone would prefer the latter – and is “crazy” about having Alexandre Lacazette in his team.
Simeone believes Diego Costa, whose contract expires next season, will leave this summer amid interest from China. What’s more, he wants support for Joao Felix up top, with Alvaro Morata the only fixed forward in his team.
Arsenal’s valuation of Lacazette stands at €45million, a price Atletico are not willing to pay. As such, Simeone has instead convinced Arteta by allowing Partey to enter the deal.
The Argentine manager is not against Partey leaving after a disappointing run since his move from Monaco. Indeed, he has made more errors leading to an opposition shot – seven – than any other LaLiga player this term.
Atletico are happy to exchange Partey and receive €20million as part of the deal, Don Balon adds.
Previous reports had claimed Partey is close to agreeing a new contract at Atletico.
ARTETA’S FEARS ABOUT ARSENAL’S BUDGET
Asked whether he will get the finances to build a title challenge, Arteta told Sky Sports: “I don’t know. It is a big concern because you see how they build the squads.
“It is not magic, you need to improve with quality players in the squad. You need a bigger squad to compete in this competition and that is going to be the challenge.”
Arteta made the comments after his side’s 2-1 win over Liverpool on Thursday, in which Lacazette opened the scoring.