Mikel Arteta was assistant head coach to Pep Guardiola last summer when the Manchester City manager brought in midfielder Rodri from Atletico Madrid.
Guardiola met the terms of the Spaniard’s £62.6million release clause, which meant Rodri could buy out the remainder of his contract with Atletico and head to the blue side of Manchester.
Every player in La Liga has a mandatory buyout clause, and City took advantage of that fact to land their leading midfield target.
Arteta was said to be instrumental in persuading Guardiola to splash out on the 24-year-old, whom he compared to Barcelona great Sergio Busquets.
And while Rodri may not have set the world alight at the Etihad, Arteta is tempted to return to the Spanish capital in a bid to sign another Atletico midfielder in the shape of Thomas Partey.
Arsenal have been heavily linked with the 27-year-old, who joined Atletico almost 10 years ago from his native Ghana.
He is, however, is a different kind of player to Rodri, with the latter viewed by Guardiola as a long-term replacement for Fernandinho, City’s holding midfielder.
Partey, whose release clause is a more affordable £42million, is more of a box-to-box operator, capable of contributing to both attacking and defensive phases of the game.
He can pass and play as well as break up opposition attacks, and there is no doubt that he would inject both guile and dynamism into the Arsenal midfield.
Partey would suit Arteta’s preferred 3-4-3 formation, and would probably relish the chance to play in a freer system than the one he is used to under the more rigid Diego Simeone.
Partey, like Rodri before him, has previously talked about his desire to play in the Premier League, telling ESPN: “The Premier League is a good league, it’s very competitive and has some of the best players in the world. Hopefully, one day, I would like to be there.”
And his father, Jacob, also reiterated his son’s desire to move to England.
“I personally told him to move on, if he is not wanted where he is right now,” he told Enigye FM.
But Atletico disputed his father’s comments and offered Partey a new deal. That contract has still not received Partey’s signature, with Atletico making it known that they are ready to let him leave for the right price.
That price is unlikely to be anything less than the £42m clause in his current deal.
Therefore, Arteta could do worse than following Guardiola’s lead in agreeing to pay the release clause of a highly-rated Atletico midfielder, just as the City boss did more than a year ago.