Arsenal’s great dilemma – Partey or Aouar? Or….. Maitland-Niles?

Arsenal’s dilemma solved by GunnerJack

It appears that sometime in the near future we could probably raise around £45-50M to spend on new recruits.

Thomas Partey is the name on everyone’s lips and has been the subject of quite a few articles on Just Arsenal.

More recently, and to a lesser extent, the name of Hassem Aouar has cropped up.

It now seems that it’s a straightforward choice of buying, or at least trying to buy, one or the other. It doesn’t seem we can afford both and so most are naturally siding with Partey as they believe that Arsenal’s most vital need is to strengthen the centre of midfield.

But perhaps a good way to solve the dilemma would be the following. First, forget Partey. Second, buy Aouar.

Aouar would probably play on the left side of the Arsenal midfield and so would displace Ainsley Maitland-Niles. Despite AMN’s heroics for us down the left in the Cup and Shield, Aouar is far better than him for this particular role. As far as I’m concerned there can be no argument there.

So, if the money’s gone and there are no longer any funds to buy a defensive or box to box midfielder such as Amadou Diawara or Partey, what can be done?

For me the answer is as clear as day – step forward the aforementioned Ainsley Maitland-Niles. It is my view that Ainsley would relish this task, perhaps even more than making those forays down the left wing he’s been doing so well lately.

Though some may have missed it, Ainsley also played well as a ‘destroyer’ during this time, keeping several high class opposition players very quiet.

Played more centrally, he could not only break up attacks but, with his speed and stamina, get forward when opportunities arise. He also has the skills needed to do this.

So, for me, it’s a no-brainer. No doubt others will violently disagree 🙂


Tags maitland-niles Partey


  1. Depends a lot on our sales..

    Can we move on with Torreira and Guendouzi? If not, then nobody’s coming. And Özil is fine sitting out his 350k contract.

    Rumours has it Sokratis is moving to Napoli for £3m and Schalke interested in Kolasinac on loan, with an option to buy. Good start!

      1. Arsenal will still have to subsidize most of his salary as Schalke have a Championship salary structure.

  2. “As far as I’m concerned there can be no argument there.”

    Are you implying that everyone reading should accept your personal opinion as gospel?

    1. It clearly says ‘As far as I’m concerned.’
      You yourself just quoted it!

      It clearly does NOT say ‘As far as ALL OF US are concerned.

      Do you find that difficult to understand?

      1. All he does is look for a fault in every article when he clearly has understanding issues himself. Looking forward to the day he actually writes one article(if he can)

      2. Well said! You stand up for yourself and I for one saw nothing in your article to say that others may not disagree, if they wished. Ignore the daft post from Maxis, is my advice. Your article even said “others may violently disagree,” so perhaps that fair comment passed Maxis by!

  3. Buy Aouar and keep AMN and play him centrally with Xhaka. I think he will be better than Elneny. He is so versatile and can play so many positions that it would be stupid to sell him.

    Let Torreira go, he is in you face but his size is really a disadvantage in the premier league.

    1. Yes John I also think AMN is better than Elneny. Then again, Elneny played much better than I expected against Liverpool and that’s not an easy task. So glad he’s improved.

  4. GJ , are you suggesting we play AMN as a dedicated DM or as a right sided BtoB in a midfield three which is where I would like him to operate?I think we can forget about Partey and Oouar.Fine players indeed but out with our Budget unless we can make cash sales for the likes of Guendouzi, Torreria,Kolasinac and Elneny who I have to say surprised me with his sound performance against Liverpool.If Arteta intends to play with the back three system on a permanent basis, the need for a DM is not a priority, but if he wants to have the flexibility to switch to a 4-3-3 set up, it is essential.

    1. I would be happy in either case Grandad. As you say, it depends on Arteta.
      If nobody arrives, including Dani C, then I would still move AMN into midfield and then play Saka on the left.

  5. Our midfield is soft sell Axkha torriera guendouzi ! use lacazette in any deal with Madrid for partey, get rid of who you Mustafa, sokratis and we could have both diawara and partey .
    So how back 3 Holding Gabriel Saliba with Diawara and Partey in front of them ??

    1. You must be either Simione or Morinhio fan. Thank GOD you are not incharge otherwise we will have chants of boring boring Arsenal again. After Wenger left it took us time to get back to the playing style we are associated with but you want to go back to George Gram era? MA will never play so much defensive minded team, remember he learnt his art from Wenger and Pep, he is Spanish so they prefer to play in certain way to entertain and look beautiful then to win ugly and called football killers.

      1. Mohsan, I can’t agree with your comment re defensive football. Arsene Wenger’s strongest teams had Patrick Viera as the physical commanding box to box midfielder and Gilberto Silva as the designated DM, so there goes your argument.
        If Arteta followed Wenger’s path to success he would try to buy Partey, who he wants and a DM like Diawara, Roca or Soumare.
        Thus GunnerJack, Partey and Diawara would not “be overkill” in the physical EPL.

        1. Ozzie, Viera was a B2B player but he was slightly more offensive then defensive. I agree he was strong and very agile so use to cover a lot of ground on both sides of pitch. He use to score some importants goals and use to make good runs into box for club n country. You can not compare him with Partey, he is more defense minded and not renowned for his runs from midfield as well as scoring goals. B2B can be different as well take Ramsey as an example he was also B2B but very offensive minded. I think Xhaka has improved a lot and he will remain as our DM, we just need to add a CM like Santi. It is pretty evident form out last season even when MA was incharge we have struggled offensively to create chances n our offesive play/build up was poor. So how is Partey going to resolve this for us when he is more defense minded and is use to a system which is defensive in style?

  6. Well Gunner Jack, I of all people on here appreciate a to the point comment giving your view honestly and forthrightly and no fence siting. All to the good then. You also have the humility to recognise that some will disagree with you. My own position is that on AMN I am beginning to realise that we may have had a narrow escape from selling him and NOW I much hope we do not, as his versatility is obvious and he is becoming a fierce and determined defender, but so much more besides. Essentially I agree with your reasoning.

    I freely admit that just prior to the FA Cup Final I was in the “sell him” camp, purely because we are strapped for cash and he had a decent value being English and home grown.

    I much hope and believe that , on balance, he will now stay. His England call up will have enhanced any sale fee if we WERE to sell and that will put off potential suitors and it seems Wolves have no dropped out, from reports. Good!

    As to Partey and Aoure, like most Gooners I recognise that both are real talents and think that MA(aka God!!!) would love both here. But one cautionary word to depress fellow Gooners, as I call myself an arch realist; KROENKE! GROAN!

    1. Thanks for your views Jon. Always appreciated and respected even if we don’t see eye to eye sometimes 😀

  7. A great idea to buy Aouar and play AMN in the middle of the park. Whatever it is, AMN is unsellable and should not go at any cost. Let us raise funds for Aouar by selling Guneouzi, Torreira, Socrates and Kola. AMN’s versatility is a virtue Arsenal are lucky to have. And the signing of Aouar will give the forward line more chances to score, as the number of chances created by Arsenal on Saturday was less and Aouar can add to the creativity aspect of the Arsenal game.

    1. Excellent comment gunnerforlife – my thoughts exactly.

      Previously I would have added Xhaka to your list of potential sales but he’s improving all the time. I put that down to MA’s work in coaching him.

      1. Xhaka is so useless at tackling arsene Wenger told him not to bother trying as he was getting booked every game

        1. When was the last time he got a yellow?
          Tackling for me is overrated.. The ability to read games and make interceptions superceeds tackling because tackling is a form of last minute option once a player has made a mistake and lost his man.

  8. I’m glad my support for some players is always vindicated (niles and martinez). Prior to the Liverpool game, people said niles wasn’t good enough and should be sold, I argued otherwise, they said martinez should play second fiddle to Leno and he’s only been good for 3 months, I argued otherwise. If that Liverpool game doesn’t shut these fans up, nothing else will. Good game from elneny as well. As much as I like AMN, I still want Thomas Partey and Aouar, we can’t complain if we have too many talents. It’s going to give Arteta a good selection headache but it will also give us the much needed squad depth. We want our second 11 to compete with any team’s first. That’s a recipe for a dominant team.

    1. Kstix, the problem, as ever is cash. I think we’ll be lucky to get just one of them at the rate we’re going.

      BTW, I also noticed your previous good comments regarding AMN and Emi – probably because they were on a par with mine 😀

      1. That has always been our achilles heel GJ and I’m afraid due to the covid, it may be worse. But again, arsenal has been known to pull off surprises here and there as it happened in last summer’s transfer window when we were said to have just 50million to spend. We ended up buying Tierney, pepe, Luiz and saliba. And for that reason I’m keeping my fingers crossed and never saying never till the window closes in October. I think we should also remember we won the FA Cup, there’s about 40million from that if the rumours are true. I read somewhere too that including the FA money, we had a cash reserve of about 100million which will be invested in new signings as part of the deal made with players when asked to take pay cuts. Man utd is getting van de beek despite having fernandez, pogba, matic, mctominay and greenwood, Chelsea now have the squad depth they need with their new signings as that team would be one to beat, man City have theirs, I don’t think Liverpool will be up to the level they were last season but still have a formidable team despite spending less than us in the last 5 years. I hope we move fast for our targets too as the midfield is where we lack in numbers with quality

  9. we came into this window looking for a defensive midfielder but once again Arsenal fans get carried away with flashy attacking players .We do this every season .Williams can play 10 ,Partey for me nothing as changed

    1. Yes andrei, depending on what formation MA chooses, Willian would be an excellent No. 10 or attacking midfielder.

      Partey is good of course, but it has now dragged on and on and I’m sick to death of it. There would probably be a better chance with Amadou Diawara.

      Luckily I’m not the manager as, with my total lack of patience, I would long ago have told Atletico to stuff it and gone straight for Diawara. After all he’s only 23 compared to Partey (27) so plenty of time for MA to work his magic on him.

      1. GJ, your “STUFF IT” comment made me think that were more managers to do exactly that, then perhaps fees and wages would be less outrageous then they are. There is a great deal to be said for being straight and up front.

        I live my life this way and have found total honesty in thoughts and words a boon , even though on occasions they get one into trouble.

        How many times have we heard players say they more respect a manager who is TOTALLY honest with them, even when dropping them, compared to a one who tries to please everyone and ends up pleasing no one! Shades of certain modern politicians.

        People respect consistent honesty, is my view. Say what you mean AND mean what you say!

        1. 👍 👍 One must always have a Plan B.
          The situation is simple: AM does not want to sell Thomas Partey, but wants him to sign a new contract with an increased buy out clause. His current buy out clause of €50 million means that he must be sold if the buying club meets that buy out clause AND agrees personal terms with the player. Because AM don’t want to sell, they appear unwilling to lower the buy out amount. If Arsenal are not prepared to fork out the €50 million for Partey, move on and get someone else. Partey will either go elsewhere or resign with AM. Arsenal either wants the player, or doesn’t, but stop mucking about as the season starts in less than 2 weeks.

  10. Arsenal fans being fickle again. How could you suggest AMN to hold our midfield ( based on recent form). I like him but definitely not the answer to our midfield.
    This is one of the reasons why Auba is stalling on new contracts bcz he improvements through transfers.
    Partey/ Aouar/Boubakare Soumare for me, anything else is substandard!

    1. HAPISOL – as AMN has not yet played in a holding midfield position how can you say he’s “not the answer to our midfield?”

      Based on ALL of AMN’s form I believe he would be an excellent midfielder wherever he was played.

      I also have no idea where you think the funds are coming from to buy those you mentioned.

  11. Prefer Aouar more then Partey , because he is what we need as Ceballos has departed as well. No point of buying more defence minded B2B when all of our current midfield are full of them might not be as good at the moment but we have choices. We don’t have a single proper CM as Ceballos left as well. Go for Aouar he is younger and more needed at Arsenal then Partey…specially with more and more emergence of AMN. If Guendozi can be kept and guided by MA then we won’t need Partey or any DM.

    1. Mohsan – when you say ‘We don’t have a single proper CM . . .’ then perhaps you would be disappointed with Aouar, even if we are lucky enough to get him.

      I say this because I think he’ll operate much more on the left than he will in the centre.

    2. Mohsan, haven’t you been watching season after season, Arsenal being overrun and bullied in midfield, because Arsenal do not have the physical midfielders it had in the past in Viera, Gilberto Silva, Petit and even Flamini and Song?
      Too much has been expected of Arsenal’s back four and goalkeeper, because teams have waltzed through the midfield. Arsenal needs to strengthen the spine.

  12. I agree with you 150% Maitland Niles is not a fullback. If you have been surprised by his performance in that position wait till you see him in midfield. He can dominate a game similarly to the great Michael Thomas. We do not need Partey, but we are desperately in need of a midfielder who can create chances who is mobile can tackle and score 12; to 15 goals per season

    1. akan – I sincerely hope AMN comes up to your, and my, expectations 😄
      If we did buy say, Diawara, then maybe AMN could push further forward, linking up with Willian perhaps, and causing chaos in opponent’s defences.
      We can only hope.

  13. As long as Arsenal do not remove all deadwòods like Xhaka. Its gonna be difficult to realise a major stumbling block in the midfield.

    1. TG there was a time when I would have agreed with you. However, I think Xhaka has improved a lot and MA certainly believes in him.
      So, if players improve, we must perhaps move forward and update our previous views.
      I have also just had a re-think on my old views on Elneny. He must have learned something while on loan as he played very well in the Shield, better than I expected. I actually groaned when I saw the Xhaka/Elneny pairing. I was wrong. MA got it right.

  14. Arsenal must be ruthless and decisive in this transfer market. Firstly, we must keep Ashley Maitland~ Niles .Secondly, teams are showing interests in players we should offload to balance the books. Thus, Arsenal should sell these players at the current transfer market value or cheaper if need be,like Sokratis 7mk(Roma)92,000 pounds weekly , Torriera 27m (Florientina)75,000 pounds weekly ,Guendouzi 29m(Valencia)40,000 pounds weekly , Holding 8m(Newcastle )25,000 pounds weekly , Kolasinac 14m(Schalke)100,000 pounds weekly , Chambers 13m (Leeds)50,000 pounds weekly ,and Mustafi 13m(juventus)90,000 pounds weekly = 111m pounds (7) players sale.With these funds, Arsenal can buy (3 players) Aouar 45m, Gabriel 27m and Diawara 24m = 96m pounds. Profit of 15m pounds. Plus,players sold weekly salaries amount to 472,000 pounds, while players bought weekly salaries amount to approximately 272,000 pounds. Savings of 200,000 pounds weekly. Case closed.

    1. I agree Wayne. On another post, yesterday maybe, someone asked why Arsenal are the world experts at dawdling. I replied that, along with women, that is one of the great mysteries of the Universe 😄

      If they did what you say above IMMEDIATELY everything else would fall very nicely into place.
      An offer for Kolasinac – bite their hand off!

        1. All Arsenal do is procrastinate, while even newly promoted Leeds United are signing players, let alone Chelsea.
          Arsenal needs an urgent overhaul of negotiation and contract management. Bring back David Dein.

        2. Sue you prove my point!
          How you keep so calm and collected, answer all comments with a smile and generally be a really good person on here I’ll never know!
          Some comments on here make me as mad as a bucket of frogs but you answer them cheerfully and never say a bad word to anyone (except that time someone more or less abused you of course).
          So, I reiterate, women are one of the great mysteries of the Universe – and we’re all the better for it! 😀

          1. 🙂 nice one, GJ… and I thought you’d be happy after Saturday – Ainsley played a blinder! Resulting in an England call up… oh no that means I’m actually going to have to watch an England game 🤣

    2. Wayne, All well and good in theory, though I think SOME of your sale valuations a TAD higher than likely, while Covid is here. But theory and practise are so very far apart in reality and I just don’t see most of these happening quickly enough to enable us to use substantial sale cash on new purchases. But you never know for sure, so lets cross our fingers and hope for the best

      1. We need to have a clearance sale. Ozil, Torreira, Gendouzi, Mkhitarian, Elneny, Kolasinac, Sokratis, Lacazette, Chambers and Mustafi. Sell them and get who we want. I wonder why we always struggle to get deals done.

  15. From the preceding article posting on Ozil’s congratulating his team mates for their lifting the Community Shield aloft at Wembley last Saturday, but good as it may have looked to be for his doing that. However, right now who can us Gooners say need each other most, Arsenal FC or Ozil? I think is Ozil who needs Arsenal far more than Arsenal need him. It is not surprising then to see Ozil who somehow have desperately been trying to hang on at Arsenal because he knows that his football has gone cold but still warm enough to be bought to managed to eat or sign by another club side. But not sort after by any European top club sides as no top League club side in Europe who will not want to sign Ozil now permanently or even on loan from Arsenal this summer in his current state of lackadiasical footballing and awkward attitude. But if his football is still of the high top quality grade it was, definently the top club sides will have by now be scrambling over him to sign him this summer window. But Arsenal will be saying NO! To them he is not for sale and will be pleading to him to extend his contract at the club just like they are currently pleading to Aubameyang who is of the same age with Ozil to extend his at Arsenal. Why? it’s because Auba’s football is still a hot cake that can be bought to eat by many top club sides who wants to sign him.

    Mainland-Niles, Houssem Aouar or Amaduo Diawara. Which of the latter duo should Arsenal sign this summer to forget signing Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey 28 @£45m none negotiable transfer fee charge this summer. First of all and considering the general demands made by the majority of the Arsenal constituency members, the Gooners who say Arsenal should listen to them to keep AMN this summer but not sell him should be listened to by Arsenal to comply with the demands of the majority of their constituency members and therefore keep AMN this summer. But despite Arsenal keeping AMN this summer, the club should try to sign the specialist DM Amaduo Diawara 22 this summer. If Arsenal sign Diawara, to me it is better for the club than to sign Partey who will soon clock 30 years of age in 2 years time. But in Diawara, Arsenal could be signing the young Matic that was at Chelsea if they did. And it is needless for me to say Arsenal will need to offload the not lived up to expectations at Arsenal, Torreria this summer to make space for Diawara to come in.

    Notwithstanding all my afore said above, Arsenal should know better in these things than I do because they are the professionals whereas I am just an amateur football analyst.

    1. SueP – together with Sue above, you prove my point. Women really are one of the great mysteries of the Universe 😀
      How you have the patience to read through Samuel’s post I don’t know. I usually struggle through the first few densely packed lines and then give up before I get a headache. Not good I know but I’m always fairly busy and just want to get on.
      Sorry Samuel. Perhaps if you could space your text out a bit more . . .? All the best to you anyway.

  16. Why do arsenal fans get carried away easily. Amn in midfield u got to kidding me. After three matches u guys we’ll start complaining. The top team arsenal are competing with have better players in midfield. Its like bringing a knife to a gun fight..

  17. Here’s what I want to see…


    Plus Pepe/Luiz/Martinelli

    Sell : Sokratis/Torreira/Kolasinac/Mustafi

    Loan : Smith-Rowe/Holding/Ozil

    Caveat :
    1)At present rate the way our sales is going, be lucky if we mint enough to cover for Manghales selling all four I’ve listed

    2)Khedira we should take only on short term loan. If not Banega.

    3)we also have to factor 20m each season for commitments to Pepe and Saliba in installments.

    4)Which means very little to no money for Aouar unless we sell one of our prize assets (Auba or Laca)…Auba of course may yet just leave if a top CL makes him an offer.

    5) Options to Aouar maybe Countinho (another loan) or Benrahma (who will cost at least 20m). But Aouar IMO better since he can drop to cover allowing Ceballos to go into the hole position or Ceballos can drop next to Granit allowing Aouar to go into the hole position. Thereby extremely balanced bc both players are good deeper morphing into a 4-2-3-1 from a 4-1-4-1

    6) If we sell one of the strikers, frankly Auba gets the goals but at slightly older age plus considering we play chiefly against congestions, I’m not so sure he is as effective through the middle as his ball retention and competitiveness (aerial particularly) is poor. I’d prefer to keep Laca bc we have Martinelli coming back playing in from left. Auba will also likely fetch a good price in market now as oppose to 2 years time. It will allow us to invest into Aouar (even so we will have to stretch the bank a little)

  18. I also think we have poorly managed Guendouzi.

    He is impertinent but that could also be a positive in terms of the fight he tends to show (which many also like to berate our team tends to lack.

    IMO we should not be hasty to sell. Rather we should secure him a strong loan.

    He is a player still under good contract with us.

    Let him sow his wild oats at another team for a year. If he does well, his value will increase for us.

    If he finds it hard going breaking into the loan teams starting line up, then he will have been chastened by experience.

    We can assess him in a season return him into fold in lieu of either Khedira or likely Elneny. We can also then add a DM in lieu of Khedira at that point.

    Currently as mentioned several good veteran DM players in Khedira and Banega are surplus (Banega going to Al Shahad)

    They are gettable for us on loan for a year or on a limited one + one deal (Do not repeat mistake with Willian offering on 3 years at high salary)

    We need IMO to be smart. We can’t chase and add players in every position but midfield IMO needs most construction.

    And Aouar is not easy to get for us so we will have to consider fall back options but IMO if we want to go for broke in one area for a player who can really make a diff its Aouar.

    He can play across the attacking third and in deeper role next to Granit This also has benefit allowing some of our younger players a path forward if they do well as we can plug Aoaur into the position that is operating the least in terms of returns by incumbent player or younger hopefuls.

    Also to note Lyon is notorious for being difficult to deal with

    Frankly last summer Sanlehi (out of his depth) jumped the gun and got in Pepe when had he been more savy and a trench operator in terms of transfers, he could have got Fekir for low 20m as Lyon over reached on Liverpool interest and then had to fire sale the Frenchman.

    This could also be the case for Aoaur which plays to our favour. Sure he may want to go to CL teams so it may be out of the question but money talks and if we can leverage on ex Lyon man Laca plus show up with serious intent , remind Lyon to avoid last summer’s experience with Fekir, we might just be able to move him.

    but as mentioned we may have to sell one of our prize assets to fund and IMO (Controversial for some no doubt) I would prefer to let Auba go now, build on Martinelli, keep Laca who has two years left on contract and can compete better in congested space which is with most teams we will face in league clamping down on our passing channels.

  19. Would not consider AMN for midfield.

    He is still not careful enough. HIs athleticism far better applied wide in fullback/wingback role.

    He has improved late last season with several features and recently.

    And he has been playing fullback for 4 seasons now. It is his natural position.

    Would strongly consider on Khedira (or Banega) The former not encumbered by commitment to any club at the moment would play back up to Granit (or alternate allowing the Swiss to play in tandem or push forward)

    Also the height and physicality of the German an added strength covering the Cbacks (Many of whom jury still out and new to each other and the team…a worry in itself)

    That position almost is a third Cback if we are playing in a back four and releasing more assets higher in midfield as I think Arteta feels we should with a higher press and quicker more efficient transition/counter.

    In that sense Laca can act as anode (much like Giroud did) to play the attacking third players in where Auba IMO tends to lose the ball more under undue attention (and even sometimes without). Auba is better operating with space ahead to run into which is why he has profited from left sided attacking berth.

    Diawara and Partey to me means commiting more money we don’t have too much at the moment.

    So for me, I would strongly consider Khedira (or Banega if need be) as stop gap for this season. The experience may also be beneficial as we reconstruct with plenty of new and younger players (particularly in europe)

    In any case the main man at the base of an Aouar- ceballos led midfield should be Granit but an alternate with experience on occasion like Khedira more than good.

  20. We are not in for Aouar, his performances in CL priced us right on out.

    Will be lucky if we get Partey or similar, and not talking about Dani.

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