The Gunners are in the midst of a small crisis. Having lost three games on the bounce in all competitions (and being winless in four), questions are being asked of Mikel Arteta and Arsenal in general.
One of Arteta’s decisions that particularly deserves scrutiny is keeping hold of Thomas Partey in the summer. The explanation at the time was that, despite the record signing of Declan Rice, the Ghanaian would still have a place in the team. And he did, to be fair – at right-back.
That experiment clearly did not work and showed that Rice and Partey can’t really co-exist, just like Aaron Ramsdale and David Raya can’t co-exist. This season has also hammered home the point that Partey’s time at the very top of the game is likely coming to an end.
The 30-year-old has been restricted to just four Premier League appearances so far this term because of two major injuries, a groin problem and now a hamstring issue that has already kept him sidelined for 12 matches. The midfielder has always been injury prone and, even though Arsenal presumably felt that the money on offer in the summer wasn’t good enough, they should probably have cashed in on Partey.
Gunners need to sell
At the time, Juventus and Saudi Pro League sides were interested in acquiring his services. The interest of both will likely still exist, with the former looking for a replacement for Paul Pogba and the latter keen to add more big-name stars.
Whether a January move is realistic remains to be seen, but if a good offer comes in, Arsenal need to cut their losses. This isn’t just because they will need to offload some players to afford to sign a high-profile striker, which is otherwise ‘unrealistic,’ according to Mikel Arteta.
It’s also because Partey quite simply can’t perform at the level expected of a player in a title-challenging Premier League outfit anymore. According to data experts SciSports, Partey’s ability level has suffered a massive decrease over the past six months.
SciSports collect thousands of data points to generate a player’s SciSkill level and Partey’s has dropped by almost 11 points. The only notable Premier League player with a bigger decline has been 32-year-old Kevin de Bruyne, who has only played one league match so far this term due to injury.
Crucially, De Bruyne’s overall rating is still significantly higher than Partey’s so the deterioration isn’t as evident. Partey’s decline is also visible in his Estimated Transfer Value (ETV).
Arsenal shelled out a whopping €50 million on Partey in 2020, some €20m more than what he was worth at the time. Though he has, on the whole, been a decent servant to the Gunners if measured exclusively by his exploits on the pitch, the deal has not aged particularly well.
Never in his career has the midfielder ever come close to reaching an ETV of €50m and, in fact, his value has been more or less steadily declining since joining the north London giants. Over the course of this season alone, his ETV has fallen by some €5m and now sits at just €17m.
If Arsenal still harbour any hopes of recouping at least a decent chunk of their original outlay on Partey, they will need to sell sooner rather than later.