Thomas Partey warned against joining Arsenal by his own international coach before transfer deadline day move

Arsenal’s new £45m signing was urged not to sacrifice Champions League football for a financially lucrative deal by Ghana coach Charles Akonnor

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Tuesday 06 October 2020 15:17
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Thomas Partey was advised not to join Arsenal by his own international manager due to the risk of missing out on Champions League football, only for the midfielder to trade Atletico Madrid for the Premier League side.

Arsenal triggered Partey’s £45m release clause late on deadline day, with the Ghana international undergoing a medical in Spain before travelling out to link up with the Black Stars for their games against Mali and Qatar this weekend.

However, the 27-year-old may get a ticking off from head coach Charles Akonnor, given the midfielder ignored his advice that was handed to him in August over where his future should lie.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t want him to move to Arsenal because with Atletico, he will always play Champions League football," Akonnor told Starr FM in Ghana two months ago.

“His position is guaranteed and he will always play.

“With Arsenal, I’m not too sure. Arsenal fans will kill me (for saying he should not join them).

“I hope that (he stays with Atletico), and I’m sure money issues will come in, but I hope that whatever he asks for, Atletico will be able to pay.”

Partey instead decided against heeding Akonnor’s advice and signed a four-year deal with the Gunners, landing himself a bumper pay rise on a deal worth a reported £260,000-a-week - making him the third-highest earner in Mikel Arteta’s squad after Mesut Ozil and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The departures of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, who joined Atletico and Hertha Berlin respectively on loan deals until the end of the season, helped to free up space on the wage bill to accommodate Partey’s wages, and Arteta was pleased to see the club land his long-term priority target, having first expressed his interest in the Ghanain when he first replaced Unai Emery as manager.

"We have been watching Thomas for a while, so we're now delighted to add such a high-quality player to our squad,” Arteta said.

"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."

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