Arsenal have been advised to target a transfer alternative to Houssem Aouar who could give Thomas Partey a licence to rampage forward. Mikel Arteta brought Partey to the Premier League on the final day of the transfer window, but missed out on his other midfield target, Lyon star Aouar.
The Gunners had been linked with both players throughout the summer, and the widely held perception was that Partey would play as a holding midfielder, with Aouar further forward as a creative force.
However, Partey has much more in his locker than the defensive midfield role he fulfilled for Atletico Madrid.
The 27-year-old is skilled in progressing the ball in transition and can play a box-to-box role – and has even played as a second striker with Ghana on the international stage.
While Arsenal eventually activated Partey’s £45million release clause on transfer deadline day, they were ultimately priced out of a move for Aouar, with Lyon wanting £55m for their man.
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But given Partey’s qualities on the ball, the Gunners don’t need actually need Aouar, according to ex-Arsenal star Kevin Campbell.
Instead, the former striker says Arteta should target Leicester’s defensive midfield ace Wilfried Ndidi to help Partey flourish.
“You could say, okay, if Thomas Partey is going to move a bit further forward, go out and get Ndidi to sit in there,” Campbell told Highbury Squad on YouTube.
“No problem, but it just depends, you can either get an Aouar who gets further forward, or you get an Ndidi type so that Partey can do box-to-box.”
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Ndidi has played a key role in Leicester’s success since joining the Foxes from Genk in 2017.
The 23-year-old most commonly plays as a holding midfielder, allowing more attacking players to get forward, but has also filled in as a centre-back this season before being sidelined by an abductor injury.
Ndidi has for some time been linked with Arsenal, as well as their Premier League rivals Manchester United.
Meanwhile, as Arsenal prepare to visit Leeds on Saturday, Partey is reportedly confident the injury he sustained prior to the international break is not serious.
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The Ghanaian was forced off after just 45 minutes against Aston Villa in the Premier League last weekend.
According to Goal journalist Charles Watts, speaking on his YouTube channel, Partey has stayed in north London due to his thigh injury but is confident his issue isn’t too severe.
Watts spoke to a source close to the player and while he could not get an exact return date, Partey is said to be optimistic of returning to the pitch soon.
Whether that is against Marcelo Bielsa’s Whites remains to be seen, with Arsenal travelling to Elland Road this weekend.
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