Arsenal can’t afford to lose both Partey and Xhaka in the one transfer window

I’m going to go early in my predictions for next season, if Arsenal lose both Xhaka and Partey this summer we will again come up short in the title race.

It’s believed both have personal reasons for wanting to leave London and Mikel Arteta has enough respect for both not to stand in their way, if that’s what they have decided with their families. What the dressing room will lose though, especially in the case of Xhaka, is two of the few leaders we have.

I’m not sure Partey is a leader?

I was amazed at his lack of composure when the pressure increased last campaign. He should have at least had the experience where his younger teammates could look to him and trust him to do the basic things right.

He was so bad he was eventually dropped, and I can understand that his manager might look at his age, his injury record and question is he going to get any better?

Yet whenever I was asked my prediction on who would be Champions, I always picked Man City.

I questioned would one of the youngest squad’s in the division have the mentality to cope with the pressure of a title race, when the majority of the same group the year before were crippled by the fear of failure just to reach 4th?

We smartly recruited individuals with experience of winning. The likes of Jesus, Zinchenko and Jorginho walked straight into a new locker room and became the main personalities.

Watch how all three communicate during games, ordering their peers where they should be and almost teaching them game management.

In the end though it wasn’t enough compared to Pep Guardiola’s team, who have years of knowledge of dealing with must win conditions every few days.

Don’t get me wrong, there were signs of our mindset improving, grinding out wins away from home in a manner that previous versions of Gooners wouldn’t have been able too.

Yet we needed more.

The quality is there, we showed that in our points total and how long we were top of the table for.

Yet in football the margin between success and failure is so small. You could argue the difference between us finishing 1st and runners up could be we just needed a couple more senior professionals around the place.

Even if they didn’t play every week, just to have their influence in training.

So, if you’re like me and believe a lack of experience was key to our loss of form in April and May, how does losing 2 of our oldest players help?

Surely that’s a massive step back?

I believe that even if we make the signings we want to make.

I wouldn’t call Havertz a character or mentally tough, I saw him numerous times get bullied at the Bridge and go missing when things were going wrong for Chelsea.

Rice is a Captain at West Ham so has leadership qualities, but can’t at 24 do it on his own. It would again be putting a huge responsibility on young shoulders.

Odegaard leads by example but is not vocal, Zinchenko and Jesus perhaps are too emotional at times?

One of the biggest takeaways from Amazon’s All or Nothing Series was how vocal Xhaka is and how people listen when he speaks.

I passionately hold the view that in sport talent gets you so far.

What decides the good from the great is who has the mentality.

That’s why Arsenal are good not great.

When it mattered the title race was too big a step.

Every single youngster should be better for that experience and can use adversity to inspire them.

They need help though from senior pros.

You don’t win titles without them.

It seems we are more likely to lose experienced players than add them to our squad.

I’m truly shocked that a manager who claims to sit down and analyse every department of the club and assess where things went wrong, hasn’t come to the conclusion that he put too much faith in youth.

I have heard several ex-players claim, ‘you’re only as good as the senior professionals around you’.

These are the individuals who set the standards on and off the pitch. Who lead by example, setting principles and an ethos.

They are the link between players and coaches.

They have seen enough never to get carried away when the team is being hyped, but also don’t get too downbeat when things are going wrong.

I can’t think of too many winning teams who didn’t have senior pros.

Think about the Invincibles; Lehman, Lauren, Campbell, Vieira, Silva, Bergkamp, Henry, etc, were all experienced.

Even the squad players had know-how; Keown, Parlour, Edu, Wiltord, Kanu, etc.

It’s ironic that in a year where we honour the 20th anniversary of when we last lifted the Prem, we haven’t learnt the key reason how it happened.

Arsenal didn’t have enough senior pros last season.

Can we really afford to lose two at the same time?


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Tags Partey transfers Xhaka


  1. DAN I must say you make a great case for keeping the experience pros in the club. I agree too.
    However, I don’t share your negative views on MA as I think what he HAS brought in, as you mention, HAS increased our all round experience factor.

    I doubt both Xhaka and Partey will be allowed to leave, for the reasons you say.

  2. ‘Arsenal can’t afford to lose both Xhaka and Partey in the same transfer window’

    Now this make football sense if you ask me ?

  3. Xhaka should be allowed to leave.Whilst he did enjoy his best season in an Arsenal shirt I’m not sure that could be replicated again.Havertz can only have been bought to function in the same position and presumably both ESR and Trossard will offer further cover.On the other hand it makes little sense to allow Partey to wander away.Whilst his form dropped significantly at the end of last Season there’s no doubt that fully fit he’s one of the best defensive midfielders around.If Arsenal really do want to compete on all fronts then both Partey and Jorginho have to be kept to give the squad true depth.This is now even more important given that all of Arsenal’s intended purchases are going to cost significantly more than initially budgeted and it also doesn’t look like Edu is going to be able to get “top dollar” from Arsenal’s player sales.

  4. We might end up losing them both. But for a combined fee of less than £40m? This is classic Arsenal

  5. Partey and a Rice midfield would be as good as Vierra and Petit. But Arsenal will mess that idea up.

    1. No it wouldnt
      Partey isn’t close to being as good as either of those two
      He was terrible in run in

      1. There were reason for that and that was down to the manager, not Partey. So because he has a few bad games, that is the level you judge him at? Not what he is capable of?

  6. If Partey should be allowed to go, it will be back to square one for Arsenal.

    Declan Rice is worth fee. Arsenal need him so they must do everything to get him.

    And Arsenal must keep Thomas Partey if they must fight ManCity for any trophy next season.
    Imagine that ManCity have Rodri, Stones and yet want to get Rice to further fortify their advance CB options. That’s the way of champions! You strengthen what won you your last trophies, you don’t decimate it.

  7. Maybe we won’t need those senior players anymore, if Havertz or a new CF can be our ultimate front-line pivot

    Xhaka and Partey are excellent central midfielders, but they can’t hold and win the ball in the final-third

    Based on EPL stats revealed by an ESPN interview with Nedum Onuoha, Havertz was one of the best ball winners in the final-third

    1. Gai, Anyone that come out of tight space can also hold the ball in final third and that’s one of the quality of Pathey. When we don’t have the ball Xhaka defensive ability and Pathey is unquestionable. I bet Haverzt won’t offer that. Hence, one of Pathey it Xhaka is still needed in the team for defensive duties. Except Arteta signs RLavia or use MElneny if fit.

      1. Sylva, I mean the final-third in the opposition’s area. Partey operated in our deep-midfield area as a holding CDM and never played CF

        Van Persie and Giroud used to do it for us

  8. Said this on another thread, Rice could have the same impact at Arsenal as Van Dyke had at Liverpool.

    Had Arsenal made a bold in 2013 for Luiz Suarez by offering significantly above that ridiculous £40 mil plus one pound, there is a strong possibility we would have one the league that same year.

    A keep saying at some stage Arsenal got to start acting like a big club, this is what be clubs do.

  9. Partey has been a great player for us but his form dropped off a cliff at the back end of the season becoming an obvious liability in games. I’d rather keep xhaka, I can’t believe I said that, because I think he brings more to the club overall.

  10. I reallu hope we keep both Xhaka and Partey for one more season at least. We need a mature squad to go for EPL and CL properly.

    Pleasw add to the first team and don’t subtract. This coming season we have got to win something.

  11. Both are valuable to us. Partey is top class when fit and in form, Xhaka brings fight and experience to the team, leadership on the field and in the dressing room. It is almost unthinkable we would let both go.

  12. Honestly one of them has to stay. Even Rice can take a little longer than you think to adapt to the style of play of Arteta.

  13. I have said it in several other posts that we should keep both players at least for next season. You don’t change a winning team.
    Those two have been the folcrum of a well settled Arsenal midfield. Losing them would dislocate and decimate that midfield to a very injurious extent even with the signing of Rice. Elneny should be the one making the wat for Rice
    The ridiculous potential fees being being bandied about for the two players make an even stronger case for keeping them

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