An analysis of why Arsenal should not sell Thomas Partey, whoever arrives this summer

Keeping Thomas Partey for another season does not prevent Arsenal from making a marquee midfield signing, whether it be Bruno Guimarães or 19-year-old Neves from Benfica. Partey’s presence can compensate for Elneny’s departure, allowing the club to still pursue additional midfield talent.

In my opinion, although it may not influence Edu and Mikel Arteta’s plans, Arsenal should offer Thomas Partey a 1+1 contract extension. This would protect his transfer value and allow the club to retain him for another season or possibly two. Modric, still playing at the highest level for Real Madrid at 39, and Toni Kroos, who recently won the Champions League at 36, demonstrate that experienced players can still contribute effectively, even if they play limited minutes. Partey and Jorginho could similarly provide valuable squad rotation and cover for cup games, enhancing our midfield depth.

Unless Arsenal signs someone of the caliber of Moses Caicedo, Rodri, Sergio Busquets, or Casemiro in their primes, no current No. 6 can truly replace Partey. Even Declan Rice or Bruno Guimarães cannot match Partey’s ability to dictate play, maintain game momentum, and provide progressive passing. Partey’s presence also allows players like Rice and Ødegaard to play more freely in attack, knowing he is securing the midfield.

Amadou Onana, for instance, cannot replace Partey. He is more of a No. 8 and doesn’t provide the same defensive stability. Keeping Partey with a new contract would be a significant benefit, regardless of signing another midfielder like Bruno Guimarães.

Meanwhile, pursuing a low-cost midfielder like Mikel Merino, who can play similarly to Xhaka, would offer a different midfield option for around €25 million. Pairing him with someone like Joshua Kimmich would be a wise investment, providing insurance if Partey gets injured. This approach buys time to find an adequate long-term replacement for Partey, avoiding costly missteps like signing Onana or Zubimendi and then needing a new Partey in two years.

Looking ahead, Arsenal may need to overhaul the midfield in 2-3 years as most players will be in their 30s, except for Ødegaard. Therefore, the club should invest wisely in talented younger players who can make a genuine impact.

Letting Partey leave without an adequate replacement would be a mistake. Previous examples, such as Nunes and Kovacic failing to replace Gundogan at Manchester City, highlight the risks. Even with De Bruyne’s injury, his impact far exceeded that of his replacements.

If Arsenal had retained Xhaka and still signed Havertz, the two-point gap between City and Arsenal might have been in Arsenal’s favor, even with Partey injured for much of the season. We should not repeat the mistake of letting key players go without suitable replacements.

Real Madrid retained Modric and Kroos while signing Camavinga, Valverde, Bellingham, Tchouameni, Brahim Diaz, and Arda Guler. Arsenal should adopt a similar strategy, retaining Partey regardless of new signings.

Players like Smith Rowe, Lokonga, Nketiah, Tierney, and Jesus (earning £265k per week) should be considered for departure instead, as they are not significantly contributing to the team’s progression. Replacing them with talents like Nico Williams and Khvicha Kvaratskhelia would be beneficial.

Even Martinelli, although valuable, should be a rotational player. Arteta’s willingness to spend £80 million on Mykhailo Mudryk for Martinelli’s role indicates he saw a need for improvement and competition.

A striker like Benjamin Šeško, with a low salary cap and potential for growth, would have been ideal, but since he is unavailable, Arsenal still needs a striker with presence in the box. While not necessarily Osimhen, a striker fitting Arsenal’s style would be essential, and I trust Arteta’s judgment in this matter.

Jack Anderson
(Thanks to Henry Bankole for the inspiration)


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  1. Still do not see how we need Riccardo Calafiori, for 50mil overpay, and not a forward of different ilk upfront.
    A winger who can score, or a striker is what we need first. Then Partey replacement(even if he stays), why is the coach adding another defender? Will Timber ever play if we keep adding defenders for LB?
    We overpay for players, if Arteta do not trust them, we later move them over for a loss, and cannot sell players for good profit. Ourside first team of 15, we are losing player value. We do not have a good loaner contingent anymore, where the next Saliba will come from? Youngsters are leaving because they do not see a path to first team, Omari Hutchinson, Chido Obi Martin we could have loaned them and kept on our books. The model is not sustainable, and in a year or 2 we will realize it

  2. Partey is still a great CDM, but he will only get slower and more injuries as he ages

    If Calafiori comes, I think Zinchenko will move to the left-sided AM position, Rice will return to the CDM position and Partey will be sold:

    GK: Raya, Hein
    LCB: Magalhaes, Calafiori, Tomiyasu
    RCB: Saliba, Tomiyasu, Calafiori
    LB: Calafiori, Timber, Tomiyasu, Zinchenko
    RB: White, Timber, Tomiyasu
    CDM: Rice, Jorginho, Timber
    LAM: Zinchenko, Havertz, Trossard, Vieira
    RAM: Odegaard, Vieira, Nwaneri, Zinchenko
    LW: Martinelli, Trossard, Jesus
    RW: Saka, Vieira, Nwaneri
    CF: Havertz, Jesus, Trossard, Obi Martin

    For sale: Kiwior, Smith-Rowe, Nelson, Nketiah

    We’ve lost Reuell Walters and Cozier-Duberry

    1. What makes you think that ? Zinchenko hasn’t played one game for arsenal at left 8 or Ukraine either!!! You think Arteta will move Rice to a position he struggled with in the first half of the season to accommodate Zinchenko? Zinny will more than likely be sold !!!

      1. Zinchenko used to play the left-sided AM role for Ukraine and Rice’s main role before moving to Arsenal was DM

      2. agreed, Calafiori last nail in coffin for Zinc who just no longer fits

        defensively suspect and susceptible to errors (the fundamental problem) and does not offer enough on the ball, or should say several better options on the ball

        and agreed Rice predominantly at #8 next season, maybe occasionally at #6 if playing double pivot in 4-2-3-1 formation which Arteta rarely does but may do to suffocate certain opponents like Man C, Liverpool, Real

        looks like a first choice back four of White, Saliba, Gabriel, Calafiori
        back-up utility players Tomy, Timber, Kiwior

        Timber feels to good to be a back-up though

        1. Timber is brilliant for sure, but he is coming off some injury and we can’t overload him straight from the start.

          Are we even sure if the injury did not affect the performances that made the Manager go for him in the first place?

          1. Good point, then he will be the latest player to be bought high, not trusted, held on for long, sell low.

    2. We have 10 home grown players, we need 8. Ramsdale will have to be first move out, then we can sell one more, or if we find buyers for Nelson and Nketiah, promote Patino and Nwaneri. ESR sell looks not easy, except if we get a 40m offer.

    3. @Gai where does Nwaneri fit into your lineup this season? Jorginho/Pathey aren’t meant to play much games this season if Pathey isn’t sold. They are gradually ageing.

      Zichenko would do OK in xhaka’s role but I doubt his physicality in Epl he won’t be combertive, he is light weight.

      Arteta isn’t doing well like Wenger when it comes to integrating accademy players into first teams like Fabregas.
      Nwaneri and Chido Obi etc should bewell introduced next season.

      1. Nwaneri might become Odegaard’s understudy and Obi Martin might become Havertz’s

    4. others for sale Ramsdale (not ready to be no.2), fabio, tavares, Tierny, and lokonga. I would hope to retain ESR

  3. A midfield trio of Rice, Odegaard and Zinchenko is lacking in physicality and pace and an ability to recover the ball.Arteta is no doubt fully aware of such weaknesses and the acquisition of a quality replacement for Partey will ,I suspect, be high on his agenda.

    1. Rice is physical. same cannot be said to Joginho and Zinny. i sometimes think Timber can play the DM role

  4. Go get em Grandad, You obviously see the big picture much clearer than most. I am a big fan of Califiori’s performances for a woeful Italian team but am not 100% convinced he is the right fit for us when we already have six centre halves to compete for four back four positions. Definitely Kiwior and Zivchenko have to go if the Italian were signed but there is still an urgent need for a high profile forward. Sooner or later Harvetz is going to disappear into redundancy and it is necessary for Arsenal to have an additional %X factor.

  5. I don’t think the importance of partey is fully understood. It’s *not* his ability to defend that’s so important, it’s that he also plays forward passes better than anyone else from that position (except maybe rodri; can’t remember). It’s why we look so dull and uninspired when when don’t have him or jorginho in the team (and why jorginho is usually an adequate replacement without being great defensively)
    Rice, as brilliant as he is, can’t play that role so well – he may be a brilliant DM for a side that expects to be on the defensive for most of the game (like whu), but we don’t expect or want that to be the case – in our side, he’s more useful pressing higher up the pitch, plugging gaps to stop counter attacks and shuttling the ball across the frontline. Partey and jorginho are better for the DM role in a side like ours because they help us control the play and pick the right passes to help us create chances against more defensive sides. I believe zubimendi is at least the right type of midfielder, which is why I think we genuinely *were* interested in him.
    It might be that we’re simply running out of options, which is why more advanced midfielders like merino are being linked…

  6. Party should stay, unless we get stupid money for him, and regarding buying a new leftback, don’t get me started.

    We don’t need another leftback, because we have the new England leftback, Saka. Ha ha ha. You all think he’s a great leftback, and if he’s good enough to play there for England then he should be more than good enough to play leftback for his club, or are you all now seeing how foolish your comments were in agreeing with Southgate.

    I though you bloggers was saying that Saka could play there as he use to play brilliantly for Arsenal. So why do we need a leftback, surely we need a new right winger!

    You bloggers seem to approve the idea with Southgate playing Saka at leftback, when I said he was foolish.

    I was the only one that said Southgate is a numbnut and is trying desperately to accommodate “no goal contribution Foden”, by making England provide all the support and service down the left hand side, leaving the right isolated, and making it look like Saka is under performing.

    This 80% play down the left side obviously leaves the right side unsupported.
    Maybe according to Stuart Pearce, it’s partially the fault of the Man City rightback who is not making runs or passes down the right ahead of Saka to make his turn and run.
    Maybe the MC rightback is in favour of supporting his MC team mate, Foden.

    He has now even gone one step further in his madness to supply Foden the majority of service by moving the isolated Right wing Saka to leftback to aid Foden( as if he doesn’t have enough support already) down the left.

    This will make England even more unbalanced in his obsession with trying to accommodate Foden, with nothing for the Swiss to defend down our right.

    Saka’s Arsenal and England’s new leftback, yeh right!

    The STATs don’t lie, and you bloggers need to realise that this will be Southgates last game if he plays Saka at leftback and unbalances the side even further.

    If you don’t believe me, then check out Stuart Pearce s observation on Talksport. The link is below.

  7. Team1;
    White Saliba Gabriel L.B
    Partey Rice
    Saka Odegaard L.W
    Tomi Timber Kiwior Zinchenko
    D.M Jorginho
    G.jesus Trossard Martinelli

    With the players we had last season, we need to sign two starters and a back up C.F. If Ramsdale leaves a backup G.k will also be needed.
    That is not too much for a team that wants to compete in four competitions the coming season.

  8. The first question that comes to my mind is where does arteta see timber play next season with calafiori’s arrival?They all look too good to be on the bench! Timbers injury was simply unfortunate as evidenced by his health injury we need calafiori more than we need a reliable game dictator?a big no!we all know rice can’t dictate a game as other defensive midfielders like rodri,partey,kroos we ought to first spend big in such areas;Dluiz I

    believe has

  9. The company is sold out on Calafiori and Kadioglu; they should just buy one or both of them and proceed with the negotiations for midfield and center forward. Too much hesitation is not good.

  10. Not sure Partey can be the mew Elneny as the article suggests.

    I don’t have time to check, but I think there’s probably a massive disparity in their wages? That can’t be ignored in these days of FFP.

  11. One always has more confidence with Partey involved, ifnot injured.. still he has the odd silly moment. Hope that
    MA can convince Obi Martin to stay with us and develop!!
    If not I don’t get the concept of having a youth academy ?

    1. I think the youth set up as long gone under this regime,cheque book management ,one thing that used to set us apart from the rest now we have joined them .

      1. “One thing that used to set us apart from the rest”…. and not won a league in 2 decades being different.

        Btw, do you believe that any club can remain the same and focus heavily on academy youths and still win the league? Or let’s say dominate like City has done?

        I also took pride once that our club was so good with the youth academy, developing them, giving them paths to the first team, and simply didn’t bought the big names all the time. But you can only have that pride, not a trophy.

  12. New Elneny means what exactly,a nice guy, good to train with and sit next to in the beach but not exactly a game changer,was he?

  13. I agree that Partey should be retained atleast for the next season. However, signing another central/defensive midfielder is essential since we cannot totally rely on Partey given his injury issues. Partey is good for rotation and starting in the more difficult matches but not as a regular starter.

  14. I don’t think Edu/Arteta are as sentimental as JA, and that ruthlessness

    Partey unavailable too often with niggles, often facing setbacks from anticipated return date – that is very hard to make plan around

    mixed performances, Spurs was great, but Everton and especially Man U very poor (Arsenal lost control of midfield against the worst Man U team in decades missing their best midfield players)

    high wages, unsustainable on a per game basis

    one year left of contract, get nothing in 12 months or get even £10m to £20m now is important for PSR maths

    has maximum 1 year left anyway, and Jorginho not far behind, so two player midfield rebuild needed, at least one this window for phased approach

    above all, the outstanding Partey of 3 or 4 years is gone, the past, it happens to all of us, Arsenal need an upgrade this coming season to achieve Edu/Arteta/club/JA readers trophy ambitions

    sad for Partey but you know it’s true

  15. football comments are often a matter of opinion. some make sense some do not.

    a lot having been said about most positions requiring reinforcement, my lament is, for ghe longest time has been a world class goalkeeper.

    I know of no team in modern football that win titles with average goalkeepers.

    arsenal used to in, among a few, seaman & lehmann.

    but my view since the shortlived spell of martinez, my view has been that’s the weakest link & that will cost an otherwise promising championship team to make near misses perennially.

    both current keepers, raya and ramsdale, are good 2nd goalkeeper but far from world class.

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