A few days ago we spoke about the issues we face in losing potential targets if Thomas Partey does not leave swiftly.

The fear for the club will be those earmarked, such as Romeo Lavia, might agree deals with our rivals before we are in a position to secure their signature.

So if our primary options are gone, what would our options be?

Move down the list

The question for the recruitment team is just how far down the Partey replacement list are they willing to go.

Do they splash out on someone who might be 7th or 8th on our target list? Or do they keep the powder dry?

If you go too far down the list, you end up with buying a player for buying sake. You end up with someone like Lucas Perez.

You spend £20-30m on someone no one really wants, not Edu, not Mikel Arteta, and as a result they do not see any game time. Their signing then restricts you signing a preferable target in 12-months time and you are stuck with them.

The result is endless loan deals and ending up selling them for a huge loss after a couple of seasons.

Thomas Partey stays

If there is not an obvious Partey replacement still on the market, than we must block the Ghanaian from leaving.

When fit, Partey is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world. The issue is he can only perform at that high level for around 30 games a season.

Declan Rice will be Arteta’s first choice 6. His signing will allow Partey’s game time to be managed, playing in those bigger games where we want to go more defensive.

You can almost foresee a situation where Partey plays in the majoirty of our away games, whilst Havertz plays at home.

I certainly would not be upset to see Partey stay for one more year.

But then what if the offer from Saudi Arabia is north of £40m? A huge sum for a 30-year-old who can only play in half the available games a season. Arsenal would be silly to turn that down (and the chance to get Partey’s £200k a week salary off the wage bill).

It sort of makes little sense that one of our best played players would be a squad player next time, only expected to start 20-30 of the 60 games we will play.

And if we do not cash in this summer, we risk there not being a bid next.

It would cost Arsenal over £60m to keep Partey for 2-years (£40m in lost transfer fee, £20m+ in wages) and then let him go for a free.

That £60m would cover signing a replacement for £40m, and paying them £100k a year over 4 years. So if an offer comes in, we probably should take it.

The loan market

If we get to a stage where an offer for Partey is too good to turn down, but it is too late to sign a decent replacement, we may be best off looking towards the loan market.

Would Real Madrid be open to loaning out Aurelien Tchouameni if they deem him surplus for requirements over the next 12 months?

Tchouameni joined Madrid last summer for €80million on a 6 year deal.

His amortised fee costs Madrid around £12m a year. Could a deal for Tchouameni be done for around that price?

Madrid get his portion of transfer fee paid for the period, and salary. Arsenal get a very good player for a year but do not have to commit any longer. It could be an option.

And are there other options like Tchouameni that Arsenal could bring in on loan?

Of course, you also risk signing a Denis Suarez or Arthur Melo. Spending a hunk of change on someone who is either not good enough or not fit enough.

Sell Partey, sign no-one

The final option is we sign no-one.

If Partey departs, that leaves us with Rice, Jorginho and Mohamed Elneny as our 3 defensive midfield options. It would be a risk, but could we get away with it?

Once Partey departs, we might be best off keeping our powder dry if none of our top options are available.

Rice can certainly play the 6 role for 50+ games a season. And then if we want to go more defensive, Jorginho then replaces Havertz.

Elneny then provides a 3rd choice back-up in an emergancy.

Not ideal, but this option would stop us wasting money on someone we do not want.

It is not an easy puzzle to solve for Edu and the team.

Ideally, Partey’s future will be resolved sooner rather than later and we can move onto signing his replacemnt before they are snapped up elsewhere.


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