After a summer of being heavy linked with Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar, Arsenal eventually signed one of them.
Arsenal triggered the Partey’s release clause mid-afternoon yesterday. And then the deal dragged on as he took his medical in Spain, before flying out to Ghana for international duty.
It is not only the biggest transfer of deadline day, but the biggest of the summer.
Partey is something Arsenal have missed for a while. A beast in the middle of the park. Someone who can dominate physically on his own.
A fantastic signing, he gives Mikel Arteta options.
In a midfield 3, Partey plays on the right hand side as one of the 8s. Able to drive forward with the ball, he naturally drifts out wide for Atletico Madrid to help out defensively.
Expect Hector Bellerin and Nicolas Pepe to benefit as they are freed up to attack knowing they have the big man inside them.
Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballos will make up the rest of the midfield.
If Arteta sticks to 343, then it will be Xhaka and Partey starting, with Ceballos a more progressive options to bring off the bench – likely for Xhaka.
With Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi leaving, Partey is an upgrade on both.
He provides the power that Torreira was unable to, and the maturity and experience that Guendouzi did not have.
Arsenal still look a little light in midfield, especially when it comes to creative. But it is basically Torreira and Guendouzi out, Elneny and Partey in.
On Guendouzi, Arsenal moving him on loan is a smart move.
He is a talented land who perhaps started to believe his own hype. He developed an ego that his performances did not back up.
This time last year he was a £40m player following a fantastic debut season. Arsenal would have been lucky to get £20m this summer.
By moving him out on loan, Guendouzi has a chance to rebuild his career. To mature.
The fact he is off to Hertha Berlin rather than PSG, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid or Juventus would have come as a shock for the lad.
If he gets his head down at Hertha and performs well, there will be plenty of interest in Guendouzi next summer.
He is France U21 captain and an outside bet to make France’s Euro 2021 squad.
A good season might see the likes of Dortmund, RB Leipzig, Marseille, Inter Milan, etc after him. Arsenal could easily command £40m for him again. Even though he would only have a year left on his contract.
It has been a frustrating window at times, and we did not really resolve the lack of creativity.
Hopefully and improving defence with Gabriel in the middle, and Partey in the middle of the park will allow the likes of Ceballos, Saka, Willian and Pepe to play more expressively. To create more.
A strong defence frees up your attacking to players to do what they are paid to do in the final third.
The squad still needs work, but the business we have done this summer is positive: