There’s Just One Vacancy Left in Arteta’s Arsenal: Xhaka’s Part(ey)ner

You’ve got to fight for your right to Partey…

Arsene loved his midfielders more than any other positions, and he had so many (potentially) good ones over the years. In a way we were spoiled with all this talent at our club but we have also suffered at the hands of Arsene’s  inadvertently poor choices, especially in the last decade. The problem with most of them was their lack of fitness/robustness to survive game after game in the PL.

Most of our midfielders in the last 15 years or so either went too early or were far too injury-prone to become part of a title-challenging team. Cesc, Hleb and Nasri went far too early, Ramsey never became a reliable player in our midfield, Diaby and Jack were such promising midfielders but it stayed with that, Song and Coquelin looked promising for a long time but were let go by Wenger and, sadly, I can mention more unsuccessful Arsenal midfield sagas.

Emery was given the talented and promising Torreira and inherited Xhaka and Ramsey. The former has not really established himself yet, but there is still time. The latter has left for the Juve as to sit out the best years of his life on the zebra-bench. 


I know that not everybody rates Xhaka but all his managers have done and do. He may be a bit slow and now and again misplace a pass leading to danger, but he is the metronome of our team, our nerve centre, our heart/the pivot of the team. I am a massive fan and am convinced he will be strutting his stuff at the home of football for years to come. Arteta needs him and sees the Swiss maestro as his embodiment on the pitch.

There really is only one vacancy left in Arteta’s team and that is the position next to Granit the Great. Who is going to take it? This player needs to be able to do box to box footie, needs to able to defend and work closely with Granit when we sit back, and he needs to link up with attack constantly. He also need to have the physical strength and discipline to stay fit for at least 30 PL games. Xhaka sits back naturally and his team mate needs to be drawn forwards without forgetting his defensive duties.

Joe W looks made for this but needs to grow into the role. Ceballos is showing promise in recent games so he MAY be the answer; it is a big decision for Mikel to make regarding making Real an offer they cannot refuse… I am still not sure he is the answer, but if Mikel goes for him…

Lucas could still come good and Granit rates him a lot, but this combo has not really worked well as the Uruguayan also likes to sit a bit deeper naturally. AMN has a lot of potential but just like Joe he is a young work in progress.

So if Arteta goes with Ceballos then we should be covered in all areas, but if not he will need to buy, if at all possible given our financial position in the C-19 era. The name of Atletico Madrid’s Partey is mentioned and he may well be the answer. Some believe he would be a replacement for Xhaka but I think he is much more likely to be an ideal box to box player, and would sit next to Granit.

Not that Granit will not venture forward ocassionally. Arteta wants all his central midfielders to move into the box at times and try and finish off an attack. Xhaka did so recently and it was a welcome sight. The man has also a howitzer of a left foot that has been underused far too long.

But from the videos I have seen of Partey and his stats – 1.7 dribbles per game, 0.8 key passes per game – he looks like the ideal replacement of Ramsey. No doubt he could also play instead of Xhaka when required, as his defensive stats are good too, but to me he looks like somebody who would be the final link in Arteta’s midfield and with that the team.

Our current midfielders have a good chance in the remainder of the season to convince Arteta they have the right to party in the team next season. They better take it.

By TotalArsenal.


27 thoughts on “There’s Just One Vacancy Left in Arteta’s Arsenal: Xhaka’s Part(ey)ner

  • Interesting post Total, for me there has simply been far too much talk for there not to be some contact from Arsenal to the advisors of Partey and for there not to be discussions with Atletico.
    Also none of the Partey rumours have ever been rubbished by anyone at Arsenal, so go figure?

    Mikel has come out recently and he’s clearly stated that he wants some positive arrangement for Ceballos for next season, he’s not specified what but I’d guess that would be a permanent transfer eventually and he’s urged to get it done, so that’s clear.

    Therefore we could easily assume that Arteta wants both Partey and Ceballos, and if in fact he does, what does that mean for Xhaka, especially as Arteta has been so complimentary about him as well and has used his constantly since the re start???

    For me it doesn’t mean that Xhaka is surplus to requirements, certainly not, I mean what makes the League Champions Liverpool so relentless?

    It’s their midfield trio, three players who don’t stop working, who don’t stop defending, who don’t stop attacking and don’t stop linking everything together.

    And then you look at Man City and you look at their midfield, they’re like clockwork and they grind you down, physical, technical and also usually a trio like all the best teams. Both clubs have athletic, technical and robust back fours, so why can’t Arsenal have that, especially with a midfield trio of Ceballos, Partey and Xhaka sitting in front of them?

  • Hi Total,

    I’ve been very busy the last few day and had no time to both blog and create the Tottenham PM – so I chose the PM – its in your in- box.

  • Partey is a fine player, but I think he is too expensive for us at the moment.
    I know, 50M doesn’t sound a lot with Pogba and Kante valued at 90M+, but when (stupid) pundits recommend to sell Aubameyang to Barcelona for an insulting 30M (otherwise we’ll lose him for free a year after), then we see that in the post-pandemic era 50M is a game-changer fee. Like Fernandes, like van Dijk, like a 28-year-old Auba.
    At the moment I don’t see Partey as a game-changer, but it could be my mistake. Anyway, if we can swap him with Matteo then go for it.
    However if we don’t have the funds and cannot splash the cash, then my preferred choice would be TA’s countryman Teun Koopmeiners. He is not a high profile player, so I think we could get fim for 18-20M, but he is a well established DM with a surprising lot of goals scored and not too many yellow cards.

  • Hello, BKers! It’s been a while but, to be fair, I have followed most of the posts just not as ardently as to be sure I can make useful contributions. It has been a very busy period that leaves me very tired after work; it is so hard and (can be) frustrating to play “catch up” on all the posts, unsuccessfully. Suffice it to say I have enjoyed the articles and comments I have been able to catch up on.

    Keep them coming, lads.

  • Thomas Partey is just the kind of player our midfield could use and I am stating that from years of watching him strut his stuff at Atletico Madrid and his country, Ghana. He is a unit, very tenacious and possesses that raw footballing skill you get from Africans and South Americans. He is also deceptively quick and covers a lot of ground in each game.

    I think Partey will take to the EPL like a duck to water and will quickly help change the narrative about Arsenal having a “soft centre”. I am surprised many more Spanish sides aren’t looking to take him off ATMadrid; I did read his contract clauses make it hard for him to move to the top La Liga sides, which says a lot about how well he is rated.

    Given the financial impact of the pandemic, if we can perhaps negotiate a deal for about £35m, it will be a steal. Even at £45m, he is worth the sum, considering the going rate for similar players.

  • Good to hear from you again, Erismus, and that is a ringing endorsement of Partey. I am getting excited. Sorry to hear you have been working so hard but I hope you and your family are all well?

  • All well, my friend. Wife and kids are in Toronto, leaving me apart from them for, perhaps, the longest time ever….and worse, because I couldn’t take a trip, even where I wanted to. The travel restrictions and border closures haven’t been a great help; in any case, I won’t be in a hurry to fly till one is a bit certain the airlines have the safety protocols in place. Lucky, I had my family over with me in March and they left just before the closure of the Nigerian airports.

    How are you doing, then, TA? Trust everyone else is well. Glad to see the contributions from GN5, Kev, JW1, JK and PB, etc.

  • Hi gooneris, you are fortunate that your family are in Canada, we lived in Toronto for many years and if you live in a city its one of the best. Canada has also done a superb job in managing covid-19, led by the federal government and followed by all of the provinces and territories, there has been little to no acrimony between them – unlike the leaderless America which leads the world in both infections and deaths.

  • Good to hear from you too Eris!
    Hoping you can reunite with your family as soon as you can.


  • GN5–
    Our local leaders such as our (Houston) Mayor Sylvester Turner and (Harris County Executive) Judge Lina Hidalgo– had been able maintain things at a simmer here C19-wise– until our windblown-weathervane Texas state Governor Greg Abbott sucked up to the Criminal-in-Chief– and overrode local mandates with his Executive Orders.

    Our local officials tried in vain to follow what our city and county health experts expressed was required. They/we managed to maintain the effects of the virus at a simmer for almost 2 months– before ideology and executive orders overrode those safety mandates– turning up the heat to cause the full-boilover we find ourselves in.

    Now? Those same ignoramuses are still focused on economic impacts– instead of costs in terms of lives, illness, and after-effects to quality of life. Then. There are the costs to the thousands of medical personnel stretched to their limits. Real people who cannot possibly continue to respond and treat without detriment to both their physical and mental health.

    We are neck-deep in this pandemic. Big picture? It’s easy to lose sight of the fact that not everyone here affected does nothing– or worse, commits stupid and vindictive acts that inflict harm unto others.


  • jwl, Looking on from London, Ontario we see most. not all. State government are in Trump’s back pocket and tamely follow his irrational lead.

    I could write a book on my (and nearly all Canadians) negative thoughts about Trump but I’ll keep my remarks brief as I don’t want to be responsible for turning BK into a political blog.

    My sister, and her children, grand children and great grand children live in the New England area so what happens down there is of deep concern to my family in Canada.

  • By the way jwl, I have visited Houston on many occasions on business trips, and I still remember having the best and biggest steak I’ve ever eaten, I remember the steak but I forget the restaurant.

  • I can’t resist making one point – Trump continues to say that Covid -19 is, or will shortly be under control – yet the U.S. is experiencing the highest daily infection rates on record – and leads the World in both number of infections and deaths.

    Yet he keeps taking a victory lap every time he talks.

  • Thanks, GN5, jw1 and TA. I also think Canada’s handling of the pandemic has been superb; and yes, I should join up with the family soon enough.

    The Canadian Government is considering extending the timing of the record-opening of the border with the US. That’s saying a lot about how DJT has messed up things in the US, all for his ambitions.

  • Meanwhile, Sheffield United is looking to pose a threat to our quest for a European Place next season. Fancy beating Lampard’s Chelsea so badly, which opens the way for United (with the Referees Association and FA sympathizers) to get top 3 or 4.

    We’ve just got to avoid a loss at Spurs.

  • Yeah, whilst on the US and the situation there I saw a report that said the authorities in Seattle are cutting their police budget by 50%……!

    What is that all about?

    I guess the NRA are going to be getting a lot of new members from Washington state?

  • A year without European football may do us good. In a way I would like EL footie because of the money and some of the games are great but those Spursday night fixtures really take it out of the team with little time to refresh before the weekend games.

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