Mikel Arteta has praised new boys Gabriel and Thomas Partey for making an immediate impact at Arsenal after both delivered eye-catching performances in the 2-1 win over Rapid Vienna.
Despite being new to England, and, in Gabriel’s case, not speaking the language, the boss hasn’t hesitated chucking both in at the deep end.
The Brazilian centre-back made his Premier League debut just 12 days after signing from Lille – he scored and picked up the man-of-the-match award – while the Ghanaian has featured twice in a week despite limited time with his new teammates.
Having committed the best part of £75 million to their recruitment, the boss is excited by the balance they are already bringing to his team.
On Partey’s showing in Austria, he said: “I was really impressed because he looked really confident, he grabbed the game in the most difficult period, he took responsibility, he was really comfortable on the ball, he made a lot of right decisions, he was really strong in the challenges in every transition moment. I was impressed.
Reflecting on Gabriel’s start, he added: “We saw qualities in him that is exactly what we wanted, but then you move him from France to here at an early age, without talking the language, to adapt to a new way of playing as well and he has done it really quickly and is showing a great mentality as well because we threw him in against Fulham after three or four training sessions and you could see the performance he had there.”
Having had a clear plan for what he wanted to achieve in the transfer market, the boss thinks his jigsaw is coming together.
“It is about finding the cohesion in the team and the fluidity with and without the ball what we want.
“Finding some specificity was in my opinion lacking in the squad, to get the pieces in the right places where everyone is comfortable doing their job that we give them to do.
“I think we are much more balanced. The same with Gabi (Gabriel), the performance he had last night as well and what he brings to the team. We will see a team that is closer to what we are trying to do.”
Club captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is also excited about Partey’s arrival. Not only does the former Atletico man bring an injection of quality to the midfield, he also brings a maturity that he thinks the club’s younger generation will learn from.
Writing in the official matchday programme ahead of Sunday’s game with Leicester, Auba said of his fellow West African, “Thomas has been great since joining the club. He has integrated so well in the squad.
“He is kind, calm and smiley. On the pitch, we have seen already seen what he will bring us in matches.
“He is so strong physically but yet so good on the ball as well. We didn’t really have a profile like this in our squad before. In terms of ball progression, beating the press, going forward, he will be very important for us.
“My family is from Gabon but I also have some roots in Ghana where Thomas is from so we are family too! It is good for some of our younger players as well to have a player like him, of his calibre at training. They will learn a lot from him.”