Arsenal’s summer priorities are being made crystal clear; they must sign a new midfielder as Thomas Partey can no longer be trusted to stay fit. The 30-year-old has missed crucial periods of each season he has spent in north London and his latest injury setback could cost the Gunners once again.
Partey has played just one game since August, a 15-minute cameo in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Manchester City in October, through various injuries. Arteta would have hoped that he could play a part in their immediate matches, starting with Liverpool’s trip to the Emirates on Sunday, but the Ghanaian will continue to watch from the sidelines after another setback.
“A big concern because he is such an important player for us,” Arteta said when asked for his reaction to Partey’s worsening injury record. “He was getting some momentum at the start of the season and then we lost him for a while.
“Now it has been a long time without him. He gives us something different that no other player can give us in the squad so he will be a miss. They have been different kind of injuries but not everything is bad luck. There are a lot of things that are difficult to control. Obviously the player has a history as well when he had some issues in the past so we have to try to protect him and do everything that we can to avoid it again.”
Arteta will not be able to pair Partey and Declan Rice together to combat Liverpool’s strong attacking options. It is a tactic he likely would have liked to trial, especially with trips to Manchester City, Tottenham and Manchester United to come before the end of the season as they hope to go one further than last year and lift the title.
Especially with less than 18 months left on Partey’s contract, Arsenal need to bring in another midfielder to upgrade in that role and shift the current option on. This summer will almost certainly represent their last chance at recouping close to the £45m they spent on Partey in 2020.