Date published: Sunday 1st November 2020 12:39
Thomas Partey has elaborated on the qualities he is hoping to bring to Arsenal after a promising start to his Premier League career.
Partey was a long-term target for Arsenal throughout the summer transfer window. They finally managed to sign him by activating his release clause on deadline day.
The Ghana midfielder has since impressed, making one start apiece in the Premier League and Europa League. He has earned praise from manager Mikel Arteta and captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, among others.
Aubameyang claimed that Partey has brought something Arsenal didn’t have before, pointing out his combination of physicality and technical ability.
Now, in an interview with Sky Sports, Partey has confirmed that he wants to contribute both defensively and offensively – naming two former Premier League players he is taking inspiration from.
He said: “I like to be both defensive and offensive. I know whenever I am in the opposite area, I have chances for a goal and I think defensively, I want to be stronger.
“I want to attack like Yaya Toure and defend like Michael Essien so to have both qualities is good.
“Whenever there is a serious game, or in any game, I like to go with surprises. Most people see me as a defensive midfielder but with my intelligence and how I read the game, if we’re near the end of the game and we’re going to finish with 2-0, that’s when I go for my goal.
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“Playing in the midfield, you have to be mentally quick and be intelligent in how you position yourself and get the ball. Mikel [Arteta] is helping me a lot because we always have the ball so you have time to think and position yourself and I think with time, I’ll get used to everything and most things will come after that.
“I think everybody will know and we’ll see what will happen.”
He added: “I want to be a better footballer with a new challenge. I want to be here because more people said ‘your quality is best for the Premier League’ so I want to see why and this is what pushed me to come here.”
Arsenal working on midfield strength
Partey’s desire to improve his defensive qualities increased under his former coach at Atletico Madrid, Diego Simeone.
Simeone has developed Atletico into one of Europe’s strongest defensive units over his nine years in charge. Their style stopped Liverpool last season in the Champions League, for example.
And Partey is thankful to the Atletico boss for how he helped him develop personally.
“Simeone has helped me a lot,” he confirmed. “Before, I was just a good player but then he spoke to me and said ‘if you want to be among the best, you have to be the best. Every good player is good offensively but not all players are good defensively’, so he gave me that.
“This is what we [at Arsenal] are working on [defensive qualities as a midfielder]. I only arrived three weeks ago and I think at the moment, I’m adapting with the positioning and after that, I’ll continue working hard on how to move freely.
“You don’t always have to be positioned as the coach said. You have to be free and create spaces because you are on the field and know what is going to happen.
“With confidence and understanding your team-mates, you’ll be able to put all of that into the game.”
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