After a long transfer saga, Arsenal finally signed Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid on deadline day by meeting his £45million release clause.
Partey developed into of the best defensive midfielders in the world under Diego Simeone while also showcasing his impressive shooting prowess.
The 27-year-old is the latest player to switch La Liga for north London and we’ve rounded up some of the best quotes about him.
“Thomas is the one who best understands this position and the transition from defence to attack, shooting, scoring, providing assists and playing passes between the lines,” Simeone said in June 2020.
“When he’s at his best level consistently, he’s so good that all the best teams in Europe are looking at him.”
“You could quickly see that he was a player with attributes which were very advanced for his age,” the former Atletico coach told Sky Sports in October 2020.
“Above all, it was the precision of his passing. He was very effective in terms of his delivery. He also covered a lot of ground and positioned himself well on the pitch tactically.”
“Atletico Madrid always have strong players in their youth teams. Over the years I was fortunate enough to coach guys like Lucas Hernandez and David de Gea. But the truth is that Thomas was a player who made the difference. He had great potential.”
Jose Luis Oltra
“He was very receptive to our advice and to everything we tried to teach him,” the former Mallorca manager told Sky Sports in October 2020.
“He already had a lot of great attributes, but he was a boy who wanted to grow and improve. He was an excellent professional, which is vital for any footballer. He looked after himself, he loved football and he lived a very organised life. Those factors have helped him reach the level he’s at now.
“He is a physical marvel now but he didn’t have the strength he has now back then,” adds Oltra. “He worked hard on that, and on his stamina as well.
“His ability to withstand pressure improved and soon he was able to do more things with the ball, like trying long-range shots.”
“We have been watching Thomas for a while, so we’re now delighted to add such a high quality player to our squad,” Arteta told Arsenal’s official website.
“He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level in La Liga and the Champions League for several years.
“We’re very impressed with his attitude and his approach to the game. He’s an intelligent footballer and we’re looking forward to him integrating into our system and contributing to the progress we’re building at the moment at the club.”
“I’d seen him play for Atletico but I didn’t realise how good he is,” Trippier told The Beautiful Game podcast in June 2020.
“He’s unbelievable, his physicality, how he breaks up play. Technically he’s got everything. He ranks as one of the best midfielders I’ve played with.
“He speaks perfect English, very good English. I don’t think he’d have a problem with the Premier League.”
“Thomas [Partey] is such a good player. I’d have loved to play with him,” Essien said during an Instagram Live interview in May 2020.
“He is a young and talented player making waves in Europe. He is one player I’d liked to play alongside, but it will never happen. It is their time at the Black Stars now so we have to support them and hopefully they can take it from where we left off.”
“From the first time I watched him, I saw a player who was very strong and good on the ball, who understands the game very well,” the former Ghana manager told the Sun in October 2020
“Even when he was relatively young and inexperienced, he knew what he needed to do in terms of possession and position, how to get in the right place at the right time.
“But he’s also a very good boy, on and off the pitch, with a great character. He wants to do his job and he is very consistent.
“Thomas doesn’t tend to have good days and bad days because you know every match what you will get from him, which is his best for the team.”
“He’s a top player. He’s been improving under [Diego] Simeone,” Lauren told Goal in September 2020.
“We’ve seen this guy since his early days with Mallorca, so he stepped up to a bigger club with Atletico Madrid and kept performing well, improving year after year.
“Before he was used as a holding midfielder. Now he can pass the ball, play with the striker, have shots from outside the box and even score important goals, as we saw last year in the Champions League.
“If Arsenal decide to sign him, I think it will be a fantastic addition in the middle of the park.”
“With him they’re a much better midfield, that was one area I was still worried about,” Robson told ESPN FC in October 2020.
“With Partey coming in that central midfield position he can do every job you want from a midfield player. He’s dynamic enough to win the ball back, he’s dynamic enough with his passing and he’ll run forward as well, so a good signing for Arsenal.”
“Thomas Partey has been outstanding for the last two years at the very least,” Hislop told ESPN in March 2020.
“If you’re Arsenal and you can somehow prise Partey away from Atletico Madrid, absolutely you do it all day every day. He sits in front of the back four, I’m still not sure that there are many better box-to-box midfielders in the game.”
“I think people look at him and stereotype him sometimes as a tackler and a strong man, and he does have a bit of that side to him, but he is extremely graceful on the ball,” Brassell told TalkSPORT in October 2020.
“He’s good at dribbling round people, he’s good at going through the gears and he’s good at pulling the team forward.
“So I think that would be very, very useful for Arsenal.”
“I think they need a player like him, he was one of the missing pieces on their squad and they’ve addressed it,” O’Hara told talkSPORT in October 2020.
“It’s a brilliant signing, he’s a very good player. I watched him when they played against Liverpool at Anfield last season and he was absolutely fantastic, he tore Liverpool apart.
“For me, he looks like a modern-day Vieira, and I know that’s a big statement, but he looks the real deal, this guy. He’s a top signing.”
“As a child I watched many Premier League matches. I saw a lot of Steven Gerrard, then Yaya Toure or Michael Essien. Any African footballer in my position wants to be like them,” Partey told Elmundo in February 2019.