John Barnes believes Thomas Partey is exactly what Arsenal needed, but has warned supporters he won’t be one to take the headlines for Mikel Arteta’s men.
Partey was involved in his first training session at Colney on Friday, as he hopes to earn his first Premier League start this weekend.
The Ghana international was Arteta’s top priority during the summer window, believing his arrival will allow his team to play with more tactical flexibilty.
And Barnes, speaking to Metro Sport, has backed the former Atletico Madrid man to slot in straight away and make a difference to the Gunners’ top-four push.
Despite that, the Liverpool legend has tried to temper expectations, outlining what he thinks Partey will add.
“Thomas Partey was necessary for Arsenal, they needed strengthening in defensive midfield, and players who could break the game up whilst leading from the back and turning defence into attack.
“Partey is a decent player on the ball but his true qualities lie in winning the ball back and giving Arsenal that steel in midfield to protect the back four, so he is an excellent signing for them.
“It is important that fans understand that he won’t start spraying long diagonal balls, doing step overs 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.”
Arteta admitted that Partey’s arrival had given the whole club a buzz, with hopes he could make his bow against Arsenal this weekend.
“He was here just yesterday, getting familiar with everything around the club,” Arteta said. “Today he will have his first training session. Everything has to come really quickly for him.
“We knew that before we signed him. But he's fit, he's very willing to start playing. We will see how he goes in the next few days.
“I've seen the buzz around the place. The fans are really happy, I've seen some really positive reactions after we brought him. The same with the team and staff. We have rated him for a long time. We have managed to bring him in. He's going to be a really important addition to the team.”
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