Kevin Campbell says Thomas Partey would help solve Arsenal’s defensive deficiencies, unlike Houssem Aouar, but the Gunners hero still wants his former side to sign both midfielders.
Mikel Arteta is in the hunt for a central midfielder, with his limited options once again showcased in Monday night’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, when Granit Xhaka lined up alongside Mohamed Elneny.
Partey is a long-term target for the Gunners, and former boss Unai Emery wanted to sign the Ghana international last summer, but the club instead opted to bring in £72million winger Nicolas Pepe.
Aouar is another midfielder the Gunners want, and they have already had two bids knocked back from Lyon for the playmaker, who is said to be valued at around £46m.
Arsenal’s latest bid is believed to have been in the region of £32m, which the French club’s president Jean-Michel Aulas labelled as ‘timid’.
Campbell says Partey is the combative, box-to-box midfielder that could finally fill the void left by Invincible Patrick Vieira, and he would prioritise a move for the Atletico star ahead of Aouar, if he had to choose between them.
‘Partey all day long,’ Campbell told the Chronicles of a Gooner podcast.
‘If we secure that midfield defensively and the screen in front of the back four I think we win a lot more games than we lose.
‘But if you add Houssem Aouar, who’s a very good technically gifted player, we still have a problem in the middle of the pitch defensively.
‘For years we’ve been calling out for a Vieira or Gilberto-type guy in there who can do box to box and break things up.
‘If we don’t rectify that issue, it’s still going to remain, we might be a little bit better going forward but we still haven’t rectified that problem at the back and in midfield.
‘I want both but if I had to pick one, it’s Thomas Partey.’