Atletico Madrid had made their position clear. If anyone wanted to sign Thomas Partey, his release clause would have to be triggered. They were not going to negotiate.
Even when they showed interest in Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira, their stance on Partey did not change.
Arsenal tried to negotiate. To try and push that fee lower, to try and include Torreira in the deal. But Atletico would not be moved.
Than at 11.28pm Central European Time, with just 32 minutes of the transfer window remaining, Atletico got the call.
The call was from the La Liga offices informing them that Arsenal has paid the money. The release clause had been triggered and Partey was no longer their player.
Arsenal had shown a ruthlessness not seen before.
After weeks of unanswered call’s, and months of being told “we will not talk, we will not negotiate”, Arsenal had played Atletico at their own game.
If Atletico did not want to talk, did not want to negotiate, then fair enough. They were perfectly entitled to that position.
Likewise Arsenal did not have to communicate their intention to trigger the clause to Atletico. They did not need to let them know. A courtesy call might have been nice. But no. We decided to match fire with fire.
Arsenal followed Atletico’s advice, and triggered the clause without even attempting to contact Atletico.
Had Atletico sat down with Arsenal, had they negotiated, the deal would have been done weeks ago.
Atletico would have had £30m+ to reinvest in this transfer window. Instead, they got the money they wanted, but do not have the time to spend it.
It is behaviour that will reverberate around Europe. Arsenal are not a club to play games with.