Ex-England international John Barnes believes Thomas Partey will add “steel” to Arsenal’s team; a trait which it has lacked in recent years.
The former Liverpool winger feels the Gunners have enough flair players in the squad and he thinks that the £45m signing will bring something very different to the table:
“It is important that fans understand that he won’t start spraying long diagonal balls, doing stepovers in the opposition half or scoring from long range. Arsenal have many players such as Aubameyang and Willian who can do that for them. Partey will be that shield to support the defence and break up the play, which Arsenal have been crying out for a long time. He really could be the difference for them this season and I am excited to see how he gets on.”
Barnes is probably being too simplistic with his description of Partey. While the Ghanaian international can certainly be used as a midfield enforcer, it isn’t the only attribute that he possesses.
The 27-year-old is also very useful in possession and his numbers show he is very good at progressing the ball to the final third of the pitch, either through dribbling or with an accurate forward pass.
It will certainly strengthen Arsenal’s spine and, as Barnes mentions, it will be exciting to see how Mikel Arteta’s side progress in the coming months now they have a midfielder like Partey in the team.