Paul Merson believes Thomas Partey would be a ‘great signing’ for Arsenal and admits he ‘nearly fell off his chair’ after discovering the midfielder could be set to join the club for a fee of just £45million on deadline day.
Arsenal head coach Mikel Arteta made it clear he was keen for reinforcements in the middle of the park at the start of the summer and identified Atletico Madrid’s Partey and Lyon’s Houssem Aouar as his two top targets.
Atleti have been insistent that Partey will only be allowed to leave if his release clause be paid in full which had been proving difficult for the Gunners, with an agreement for the Ghana international seemingly dead in the water.
But the north London club have stepped up their interest once again and are plotting a last-ditch move to activate Partey’s £45m buyout clause.
Reacting to the latest reports, ex-Arsenal star Merson told Sky Sports News: ‘I think he’s a top drawer player. I nearly fell off my chair at that price!
‘At £45m, I don’t think that’s a lot of money at all for the quality of player you’re bringing in here.
‘The one thing he brings as well is discipline. He’s played at Atletico Madrid who are probably one of the most disciplined teams in Europe and he will do that.
‘He’s not a midfield player who will go running all over the place, where you’re thinking: “Where’s he gone?”
‘He’s very disciplined, he plays in a disciplined team and I think he would be a great signing.’
Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira could both make way to make room for Partey and Merson praised the club’s no-nonsense approach with players failing to make the grade under Arteta.
‘I like what Arteta’s doing, he’s trying to get rid of the players that are not involved,’ he said.
‘You don’t want them hanging around and he wants them out and fair play.
‘I like what they’re doing, Arsenal.’
Merson added: ‘They’re not playing at the moment and he doesn’t want them around the club.
‘He’s trying to get rid of them and I like that kind of business.
‘You look at Manchester United and you think Phil Jones is still there and they’re not going to play. What are they still doing there?
‘Fair play to the lads at Arsenal, they want to go and play football and saying they’ll go. They aren’t digging their heels in and saying, “You know what? I’ll stay here, I’m comfortable” and they want to play football.
‘You know what they’re trying to do. I think they try and overplay a bit too much but when you get someone like Partey in and [Dani] Ceballos in who can play, I like what they’re doing.’
‘I’m gonna say it, I think Manchester City are missing Arteta.’