Arsenal's signing of Thomas Partey is huge in terms of Mikel Arteta's vision for the club – and will move the Gunners closer to Liverpool and Manchester City's approach.
The task facing Arteta is to get the north London club back into the Champions League and restore them to their former status as one of the Premier League's big boys – in other words, to close the gap to the top two.
And in signing Partey from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day, he has taken a big step towards that.
The 27-year-old's renowned aptitude as a defensive midfielder will allow Arsenal to switch to the 4-3-3 formation favoured by Liverpool and City during their domination of English football in recent seasons.
Arteta instigated the current 3-4-3 formation to stop his side leaking goals, but Partey will provide the protection for the defence that his new manager has craved.
Arteta, of course, learned his trade as a manager under Pep Guardiola at City – with the Etihad side currently missing their former No2's influence as they struggle to hit their heights of their potential.
Partey will offer Arsenal's rearguard the protection his new manager has craved, added to the greater defensive stability provided the summer signing of Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille.
That allows Arteta to adopt the same formation as both his former mentor and Jurgen Klopp, with Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos the most likely starters alongside Partey in midfield.
The 4-3-3 will in turn allow the full-backs to provide width, with the manager able to choose from Hector Bellerin, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Kieran Tierney and Bukayo Saka.
With Gabriel and David Luiz benefiting from the added protection of Partey in front of them, the full-backs will have greater freedom to push forward in support of a front line boasting the likes of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette, Eddie Nketiah, Pepe and Gabriel Martinelli.
But Partey is more than 'just' a defensive midfielder. Arteta missed out on the No8 he wanted in Lyon ace Houssem Aouar, but Partey is also a threat going forward.
At Atleti under Diego Simeone, Partey had a specific role to play which required him to reign in his more attacking instincts.
His dribbling ability will benefit Arsenal in transition. According to The Athletic, only four central midfielders boasted a higher dribble success rate than Partey in La Liga last season – Arthur, Iddrisu Baba, Hector Herrera and Geoffrey Kondogbia.
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He also boasts a rocket of a long-range shot with his right foot, and has played as a second striker for Ghana. For a midfielder, his record of 10 goals from 27 international appearances is impressive.
So it's easy to see why Partey was so important to Arsenal that they triggered his release clause on deadline day, signing him to a four-year deal on a mammoth £200,000-per-week salary.
With Gabriel, Partey and Aubameyang in place for the next few years, Arteta is developing the spine of a team he hopes will challenge for major honours domestically and in Europe.
No wonder Guardiola and City are missing him.
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