The mood at Arsenal is one of relief and satisfaction after they were able to land their top transfer target of the summer window.
At 11:15pm on Monday, Arsenal announced they had captured Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid after paying his £45million release clause.
The Ghana international brings a wealth of experience from La Liga, a physical presence and quality.
“We identified him a few months ago and we have been following his progress, and obviously the more you know about the squad, you know more about where you think you can improve it,” manager Mikel Arteta told Arsenal.com.
“We believe he has the right qualities, with his character and his personality and as well with his technical qualities and positional options that he can give to the team.
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“I think he allows us to play different formations and he can fit in within those formations in different positions, which is a really good thing to have in a squad where, in midfield, I think we were a little bit short.
“I have a few things in mind that I want to start to train with the team and [Partey’s signing] is going to give us a little bit more adaptability and more balance in defending and attacking transitions and the way we have to set up certain structures to attack better in certain moments of the game.”
With the defensive side of the team sorted, Arteta must now focus on adding a more creative and attacking edge to the team.
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And that is why Arsenal were linked with Houssem Aouar and Odsonne Edouard.
The Gunners were unable to convince Lyon to sell Aouar despite several meetings between the two clubs.
Given Aouar’s ability, next summer will likely see more clubs enter the race to sign the France midfielder.
But had he joined Arsenal, he would have been ideal for No 8 position in midfield alongside Partey and Dani Ceballos.
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In attack, Arteta still appears to be unconvinced by Alexandre Lacazette as his lead striker and with less than two years on his contract, the club faces a decision on him in 2021.
At 22-years-old, Celtic’s Edouard would have been an ideal replacement for Lacazette.
The Bhoys have managed to keep him for another year as they chase a 10th consecutive league title but the striker is too good for the Scottish Premiership and would rejuvenate Arsenal’s forward line which relies too heavily on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for goals.
Proposed Arsenal XI with Arteta’s two missed targets – Leno; Bellerin, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney; Partey, Ceballos, Aouar; Aubameyang, Pepe, Edouard
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