Time is running out.
Well, it isn’t actually, since the transfer window is still open for roughly a month and an awful lot can happen in that time. But time waits for no man. Time is not Arsenal’s friend in their pursuit of Thomas Partey.
Regardless of how optimistic you may be in the club to sign the Ghanaian this window, interest from Mikel Arteta and co is not without basis. That area of the pitch it sorely lacking in depth, let alone quality, especially with three players in central midfield up for sale this summer.
Matteo Guendouzi is proving troublesome to shift, Mohamed Elneny likewise, whereas Lucas Torreira has suitors but can’t be sold or loaned out unless others are incoming.
Partey is the player that Arsenal want to bring in, with sales being hurried along in order to be financially capable of activating that £45m release clause. No other issues, simply money.
Yet when a player of his quality is on the market, other suitors will come forward. As per ESPN, it’s Paris Saint-Germain who’ve shown their hand on this occasion. The French club’s spending power is well documented. Arsenal’s likewise, but for differing reasons.
This is no criticism of the club’s transfer activities this window. Shifting players, especially rubbish ones, is always hard, but throw in the coronavirus pandemic’s unavoidable impact on football finances and the resulting shoestring budgets clubs are operating in, and it becomes an unenviable task.
With the new Premier League season almost upon us, it goes without saying that transfer business would be ideally completed before the Craven Cottage clash. This is, of course, overly ambitious. Negotiations drag on for months in many cases, although Partey’s is different.
Atletico Madrid have been unmoved from their position throughout: pay the money, and he’s yours.
That fee is the same for all clubs; PSG, Arsenal or any other. In among the steaming mound of transfer nonsense, some claims have emitted from the stench about Partey wanting either an Atletico stay or Arsenal. No other move interests him. How believable is that? Probably about as believable as everything else you read, yet it doesn’t alter the course.
In order to both get the most out of the signing and avoid falling foul to the financial clout of other clubs, Arsenal must act fast.
Excitement and trepidation come in equal measures. Seeing the club finally begin to offload deadwood and make their voice heard in the upper echelons of the transfer market comes with the obvious caveat that none of it has come off. Yet.
To ensure the difficult start to the season – Liverpool, Sheffield United, Manchester City, Leicester and Manchester United all come in the first seven matches – gets off to a flyer, the club’s dealing in the market need to star coming to fruition. The positivity is there that they will, but targets such as Partey can’t be left to the last minute.