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Football Reporting


Arteta hoping to see Partey justify £45m price tag at Arsenal after injury-hit debut campaign

The Gunners invested heavily in a proven performer during the summer of 2020 but have seen him struggle for form and fitness in England

Mikel Arteta is looking for Thomas Partey to put his injury issues at Arsenal behind him and prove why the Gunners invested £45 million ($62m) in his undoubted ability.

A big-money deal for the Ghana international midfielder was put in place during the summer of 2020, with a move to the Premier League that had been mooted for some time eventually pushed through.

Atletico Madrid were reluctant sellers, with those at Emirates Stadium of the opinion that they had pulled off quite a coup, but struggles for form and fitness have been endured by a combative 27-year-old.

What has been said?

Partey has been a regular for Arteta since shaking off a hamstring problem in February, with the Arsenal manager hoping that a key part of his plans can start to justify the faith shown in him.

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The Gunners boss has said: “Hopefully we will see the best version of Thomas at Sheffield United on Sunday and against Slavia Prague next week.

“Now that he has got a sequence of two or three games I think we’ll see him finishing the season in a really strong way.

“It’s very difficult to make a proper assessment of Thomas’ performances so far because he has missed six months and that is a long time.

“He is still adapting to our way of playing, which is different to what he did at Atletico, but we can all see what he brings to the team.

“It’s about him finding the level of consistency that we need from him because he has the capacity that we can build a team that can play around him.

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“The biggest difficulty he has had so far is that he has not been fit. Then every time he recovered, he missed the next game.

“He has not had time to prepare himself physically to play at the highest level and that has obviously had an impact because the Premier League demands real fitness.”

How many games has Partey missed for Arsenal?

Hamstring, hip and muscular complaints have led Partey to the treatment room at various intervals in the 2020-21 campaign.

He has missed 17 games in total, with his absence contributing towards all too familiar struggles for consistency from the Gunners as a whole.

Signs of encouragement have been offered by a proven performer when fully fit and free of the niggles that have been holding him back.

After being tied to a five-year contract upon his arrival in north London, Partey has taken in 22 appearances across all competitions.

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Arsenal, who remain in the hunt for a top-six finish and Europa League glory, will be back in Premier League action on Sunday when they take in a trip to Sheffield United.

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