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Trying to make sense of Thomas Partey situation

After Thomas Partey’s father said that Arsenal and Atletico Madrid are in discussions regarding a transfer, the player rejected such reports. Here, I try to make sense of the mess.

So, are Arsenal in discussions to sign Thomas Partey or not? That is the question on everyone’s lips right now. There have been consistent links throughout the season that the Gunners are interested in Partey, but little more than whispers has ever emerged. Until this week.

On Tuesday, Partey’s father, Jacob, revealed that Atletico Madrid and Arsenal have entered into discussions regarding a possible transfer, including conceding that he would be happy if Partey made the move to north London. Speaking to Tru FM’s Sports World Show, Jacob Partey said:

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“I called my son after hearing the rumours and he told me that the rumours are true. He told me they are holding talks between him and Arsenal. It all depends on the offer Atletico are demanding. If he goes to Arsenal fine, they have a lot of supporters in Ghana. I will be happy if he decides to move to Arsenal. What they are discussing now is how Atletico will release him.”

That, however, was not the end of the story. On Thursday evening, on his social media channels, Thomas Partey refuted his father’s claims. A statement read:

“Father of Thomas Partey might have said something but can we also put everything aside and respect the official communication from his management JJS Sports <…> The fact is that any statement heard was an opinion clearly misinterpreted to suit a particular agenda. There has been nothing officially communicated or no such conversations between the player and anybody. There is absolutely no truth in what the player’s dad was alleged to have said. We wish the media and all fans will embrace the official message from the player’s agent and not any family member or friend.”

You can see the Instagram post and full statement below:

So what’s going on? Have Arsenal and Atletico entered into discussions as Partey’s father suggested or was he mistaken? Have fans got their hopes up for nothing or is there something more to this story? Well, I think there is a very clear pattern to follow: the agent cover-up.

Partey has one year remaining on his deal. Atletico want to keep him. Arsenal want to sign him. It is also likely that several other teams want to sign him also. He is an excellent player who will be available for the right price given that he can force Madrid to sell by refusing any contract offer. Given this context, it is most likely that Partey’s statement is a backtrack on what his father said, but not because it isn’t true.

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It would be disadvantageous for Partey to publicly say that he is negotiating a deal with Arsenal and that he wants to move to north London. He needs to keep Atletico happy, while also continuing to be an attractive prospect to other potential buyers, thus raising his value and gaining the highest contract offer possible. You do not do that by your father confirming that you are in discussions with just one club.

What has likely happened here is that Arsenal and Madrid have talked about the transfer and that Partey has told his father. His father has then overstepped the mark by discussing it publicly, and in an attempt to recover the situation, Partey has dismissed his claims.

That is all speculation on my part. I have no inside information on the matter and do not even pretend to have any. But that is how I would interpret the recent Partey developments. That does not mean a deal will happen. It does not even mean the Gunners are massively interested. It just means talks are ongoing, which they are between lots of players and lots of clubs throughout the year. That is nothing new.

Next: Arsenal: 5 players impacted by Thomas Partey move

For now, then, the only thing to do is wait and let this play out. There is a long way to run in this particular transfer saga.

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