Mikel Arteta says he’s waiting to see how Thomas Partey performs in training in the next couple of days before he decides what part the new midfielder will play against Manchester City.
The €50 million deadline day signing only arrived in London on Wednesday following two games for Ghana and still hasn’t met some of his teammates with other players only just returning from international fixtures of their own.
Given the circumstances, it seems most likely that Partey will start on the bench at the Etihad but Arteta isn’t ruling anything out.
Facing the press on Thursday morning, he said: “Well he was here just yesterday, he is getting familiar with everything around the club. Today he will have his first training session, so everything has to come really quickly for him. We knew that before we signed him that he is fit, he is very willing to start playing and we will see how he goes in the next few days.”
He went on to add: “He needs to do a training session today first. We’ll see how he goes in the next 48 hours and then we’ll make a decision as to whether he plays or not.”
A long-term target, the Gunners left it very late to trigger Partey’s release clause. The excitement amongst the fans has been palpable ever since.
“I have seen the buzz around the place,” reflected Arteta, “the fans are really happy, I have seen some really positive reactions after we bought him, the same with the team, the squad and the staff. I think he is a player we had the radar on for a long time and we have managed to bring him in and I think he will be a really important addition to the team.
“He got to know some of his team-mates [already]. Not all of them, because some are still on international duty but we will have everyone back today and it will be a good day for him to get to know everyone.”
All eyes are now on Partey’s ability to adapt to England and the Premier League. While some players hit the ground running others have taken six months to consolidate a place in the team. Arteta says it’s hard to second guess how his new man will cope.
“I think it is something very individual, depending on many factors,” said the boss.
“How they settle first of all here in the city with their family, whether they speak the language or not, whether their qualities fit the team and the Premier League more straight away or if they need some adaptation and some development in those areas.
“It is very particular, you see some players adapt really quickly and some others taking a long time.”