Thomas Partey’s experience at Atletico Madrid will bring an ability to ‘struggle’ against the best sides in England, says Granit Xhaka.
The Switzerland international also believes Mikel Arteta’s new €50 million signing will bring a balance to Arsenal’s midfield that has been missing in recent seasons.
Partey made his debut in the closing stages of Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Manchester City – replacing Xhaka – and is expected to feature again tomorrow when the Gunners take on Rapid Vienna in our first Europa League group stage game of the season.
“He will be the guy who is very, very important for me and as well for the team,” Xhaka told Arsenal Digital.
“Everyone in the club can be happy about the player we took because he has great quality.
“He will bring a lot of good mentality, a good balance in our game because this is what we need a bit more: the mentality to win.
“He played at Atletico Madrid, a different type of football – maybe [the ability] to struggle a bit more against teams like City and Liverpool because they have these qualities as well – but, yeah – and he will bring a lot of good quality and mentality.”
It’ll be curious to see whether Arteta opts to use Partey as a regular partner for Xhaka or if he sees the Ghanaian a replacement to partner Mo Elneny or Dani Ceballos. In the coming weeks, we may see the boss experiment a bit.
It’s very early days so far, but we have noticed that Xhaka’s game time has been reduced ever so slightly this season. Last year, he averaged nearly 84 minutes on the pitch per appearance (3,433 minutes across 41 games), whereas this season, excluding the Community Shield, he’s averaging just under 69 minutes a game (411 mins across 6 games).