Arsenal 'almost stole Thomas Partey', says Campbell

‘Arsenal almost went in with balaclavas on and stole him!’: Nabbing Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid for just £45m was ‘the signing of the transfer window’, insists Kevin Campbell

  • Ex-Gunner Kevin Campbell says Atletico Madrid ‘dropped the ball’
  • Atletico lost Thomas Partey for £45million due to his contract release clause 
  • Campbell he joked that at that price Arsenal ‘almost stole him’
  • New signing’s defensive qualities in midfield will give Arsenal a stable platform 
  • Fans can expect a top-four finish for the first time in five years, says ex-frontman

Arsenal’s new £45million signing Thomas Partey should secure their first top-four finish in the Premier League for five seasons, claims their ex-frontman Kevin Campbell.

Campbell, who played 101 times for the Gunners, believes the 27-year-old’s quality as a defensive midfielder will be the key and provide a stable platform for the team to shoot for a Champions League spot this term.

Known as ‘the octopus’ because of his ability to steal the ball across the midfield, Partey’s tactical discipline was honed in Madrid to the exacting standards of former boss Diego Simeone, who used him to screen his defenders.

New signing Thomas Partey can fire Arsenal into a Champions League spot this season

‘Atletico Madrid dropped the ball by only having a £45m release clause, he is a player that is a lot better than £45m in this current market, but that was the release cause and Arsenal met it and they have their man,’ Campbell, who scored 46 goals in 146 league games from 1991 to 1995, told GentingBet.

Ex-Gunner Kevin Campbell is impressed by Partey’s defensive midfield strength

‘Thomas Partey was the signing of the transfer window, For Arsenal to get him for £45m is tremendous business – Arsenal almost went in with balaclavas on and stole him!

‘It is a key position for the club, he is moving into his prime and he will spend those years at the football club, so he is someone that the club can build around in midfield.’

Mikel Arteta’s vibrant team are off to a strong start this season, sitting fourth place in the Premier League with three wins and just one battling defeat away to Liverpool.

However, they have finished outside the top four for the past four seasons and last term dropped to a disappointing eighth, despite lifting the FA Cup. The Gunners have not won the Premier League since 2004.

But Campbell, 50, who won the FA Cup and League Cup with the Gunners, is confident that this time around they will do better.

Partey was nicknamed the ‘octopus’ for his ability to win the ball back at Atletico Madrid

‘Having that key figure defensively, someone who can protect the back is so important in modern-day football and Arsenal haven’t had that in years – they’ve had players there who haven’t really liked playing there that have done a job, but this is a level above,’ he added.

‘With Partey added to the mix, Arsenal need to be looking at finishing in the top four. If they don’t that will be disappointing – it needs to be the focus of the team this year.’

The player himself, who has had limited time with his new team-mates having linked up with the Ghanaian national team during the international break, is determined to win silverware while he is in north London.

Partey provided Atletico with a stable platform from which he could help launch attacks

‘This is our new objective,’ he said last week. ‘That’s the objective of the club, of me myself and I think that we have to get back to where we belong.’

Partey will now have a keen eye on the weekend when he could make his Premier League debut. Arteta’s side face the daunting task of travelling to play Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

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