Ghana and Atletico Madrid star Thomas Partey is currently weighing his options as Arsenal continue to pursue the midfielder.
Partey is believed to be seriously considering a move to the Emirates.
The 27-year old is Mikel Arteta’s prime target as the Spaniard looks to strengthen his midfield.
Partey is a key figure for Diego Simeone’s Atletico side who are keen to retain his services beyond the current season.
football.london understands that Partey has not taken a definitive decision on his future but has spoken to advisors, friends and team-mates about a possible switch to the Premier League, a move that would intrigue him after eight years with Atletico Madrid.
Arsenal would still need to convince Partey that he could achieve his sporting ambitions with them but the on-field direction of travel under head coach Arteta has made the club a more tempting proposition even if this season Champions League football is unlikely to be obtained. Prior to tonight’s home game against Norwich City the Gunners are in 10th, nine points behind fifth place Manchester United but with a game in hand.
Partey is also understood to be open to moving to London. His contract with Atletico Madrid contains a £45million release clause.
Reaching such a figure without Champions League football could prove to be challenging for Arsenal but their interest has remained strong despite the major impact that COVID-19 has had on their finances. The club have, among other cost-cutting measures, agreed a 12.5% pay cut with their first team that is repayable if they qualify for European competitions.
It has been suggested that Arsenal could consider a swap deal with Atletico for Partey. Diego Simeone’s side have long admired Alexandre Lacazette, who would have joined them in the summer of 2017 but for a transfer ban imposed by FIFA on Los Rojiblancos.
Arsenal are not expected to take a firm decision on Lacazette’s future until they have indications from their other star Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as to whether he intends to stay or go. The club’s top scorer is out of contract in the summer of 2021 whilst Lacazette has a further 12 months to run on his deal.
Atletico have acknowledged that they have a fight on their hands in retaining Partey, who has also been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester United.
Whether it is Partey or not Arsenal are set to be in the market to strengthen their midfield this summer. The Gunners are believed to have decided against extending Dani Ceballos’ loan spell from Real Madrid into a second season.