Atletico Madrid have not given up hope of retaining the services of Thomas Partey as Arsenal push ahead with sales that they hope will fund the signing of the Ghanaian midfielder.
Partey is Arsenal’s top target as they search for the dynamic presence in midfield that head coach Mikel Arteta wants but, having had the possibility of a swap deal broached to them, Atletico are insistent that the 27-year-old will only leave if his buyout clause is met.
Indeed Atletico hope to convince Partey, out of contract in 2023, to sign a new deal that will raise his buyout clause above its current £45million.
Club president Enrique Cerezo told TeleMadrid that he believes Partey can be a key part of Atletico’s side and that the midfielder has Diego Simeone’s trust.
Both Atletico’s negotiations over a new contract and Arsenal’s pursuit of the midfielder are set to take a back seat for Partey in the coming days with his club set to return to Champions League action on Thursday against RB Leipzig in the quarter-finals. A muscular injury threatens to rule him out of that match but he could feature later on in the competition.
Partey has kept his counsel over Arsenal’s interest but that should the Gunners make a firm offer for his services he would be prepared to consider moving to the Premier League.
Having spoken to advisors, friends and team-mates he is intrigued by the prospect of life in London and is confident he could make a success of his time in England.
For their Arsenal are looking to sell players to facilitate moves for Partey, a centre back and a forward. The latter is set to be Willian, who is expected to sign a three year contract after Chelsea’s participation in the Champions League ends. The Blues trail Bayern Munich 3-0 heading into the second leg of their round of 16 tie.
Gabriel Magalhaes of Lille is among the options on Arsenal’s radar at centre-back but with a price tag of £25million he and Partey will not come cheap.
The Gunners are looking to bolster their funds through sales and have told Ainsley Maitland-Niles that he can leave the club despite head coach Mikel Arteta’s desire to keep him.