Midfielder is thought to be reluctant to move to Saudi Arabia while Arteta believes his side will mount a strong title challenge

Mikel Arteta says he expects Thomas Partey to stay at Arsenal this summer and believes his players will be better for the experience of last season’s title collapse.

Partey’s future has been shrouded in uncertainty this summer amid talk of a potential exit from the Emirates Stadium.

Al Ahli has been linked with Partey but the Ghana midfielder is thought to be reluctant to move to Saudi Arabia.

It remains to be seen if Arsenal will sell should an offer that is acceptable to both the club and player arrive but Arteta insists he is planning on the 30-year-old staying next season.

Asked if he expects Partey to stay, the Arsenal manager said: “Yes. Every time I spoke to him and had a conversation with him he’s ready to stay with us. For me, there’s nothing there at all.

“Thomas Partey is a super important player for us and for me and we want him to be in the team, that’s for sure.”

Arsenal smashed their transfer record to sign Declan Rice from West Ham for £105 million this month but Arteta says the England midfielder and Partey can play together and that their presence gives him greater competition.

“They can play together. That was in my plans,” he said. “If you want to improve the squad and have more quality we need players who can play together and we need players in the same positions who have to fight for their places and it’s something we haven’t had that over the last few years. We want to improve that and that’s why we brought in Declan as well.”

Arteta said his team needed to go through the tough lesson of losing the title race to Manchester City


Despite occupying top spot for 248 days last season, Arsenal – who face Manchester United at the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on Saturday as part of their pre-season tour of the US collapsed in the final seven weeks of the campaign as Manchester City clinched a third successive title.

But Arteta believes his squad needed to go through that tough lesson to grow and is convinced they will learn from it.

“I think what happened last season was probably necessary to learn the lessons that you have to learn to get better and be successful and achieve what we want to achieve,” he said.

“So it’s part of that road and that journey. We know the complexity of the league and the rivals that we have but I’m sure they don’t want to play us.”

Arteta believes the Premier League will be more competitive than ever next season. “It will be harder, for sure, because the level is going to go up and the teams are getting better and the league is getting stronger so it’s only going to get harder,” he said.

“We have to be better and play better and do things better than we did last year and that’s what we’re working on at the moment.”

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