Arsenal completed the £45.4m signing of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid yesterday after dramatically triggering the defensive midfielder’s release clause within just hours of Monday’s transfer deadline, in what promises to be a transformative moment for Mikel Areta’s side.
Partey had been one of Arsenal’s main targets throughout the summer transfer window, tracked by the club for over two years, and signs a four-year contract with the option of a further year.
The possibility of a deal for the 27-year-old Ghanaian international had long seemed remote, with Atletico dismissing Arsenal’s repeated attempts to negotiate a fee below the release clause. However, with just 30 minutes of the window remaining, Atletico confirmed that the release clause had been unilaterally terminated at La Liga’s headquarters.
Arsenal had failed in their pursuit of Lyon captain Houssem Aouar, having had a £35m bid rejected, and the departures of Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira - who effectively replaces Partey on loan at Atletico - freed up the funds necessary for them to close a deal for Partey.
Arteta said: “We have been watching Thomas for a while, so we’re now delighted to add such a high quality player to our squad. He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level in La Liga and the Champions League for several years.
"We’re very impressed with his attitude and his approach to the game. He’s an intelligent footballer and we’re looking forward to him integrating into our system and contributing to the progress we’re building at the moment at the club.”
The signing is a major coup for Arteta, with Partey widely recognised as one of the world’s best in the position. Atletico were said to have been left furious after only being notified of Arsenal’s intent to trigger the clause in the window’s twilight hours.
Technical director Edu added: “Thomas has all the right attributes to be a top player for Arsenal. He is a leader on and off the pitch and he is exactly the kind of player and person we want at the club. We already feel like we know Thomas very well based on the work we have done analysing his performances closely in recent times.
"With his all-round game and positive aggressive style, he will be a brilliant addition to our squad. We’ve made a strong start to the season and we want to continue to build on this with Thomas now part of our club.”
Partey will wear the No 18 shirt and join up with Arsenal’s first-team squad after the international break.
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