FIVE options to cover Partey and Elneny

Moisés Caicedo

The Ecuadorian midfielder is clearly a young talent.

Just 20-years-old, is set to embark on his first full season in the Premier League having joined Brighton from Independiente del Valle in Ecuador 18 months ago.

Arsenal were linked with the youngster that same winter window.

I had a crackpot theory that we would buy Caicedo this summer, and then leave him on loan at Brighton for the season. This would have been a deal that suited all parties 3 days ago.

Caicedo would get his regular first team top flight football and continue his development. Arsenal would know they have got their long term Partey replacement in the bag. And Brighton would not lose another key player having already sold Yves Bissouma, Marc Cucurella and Neal Maupay this summer.

Whilst Arsenal could try and force the issue with Brighton over the next 24 hours, it is a deal that would be very expensive, and near impossibile to get over the line.

Brighton have sold so many players for big money in recent years that they do not need to sell. They showed with White and Cucurella that they will not be bullied into selling unless they get the fee they want.

They know the talent they have on their hands in Caicedo. With a year of Premier League football under his belt, he will be worth even more next summer.

Expect him to move for £50million+ next summer. And probably £10-20million more than that if we try and force a move this summer.


Long-term target is Danilo of Palmeiras.

The Brazilian youth international was linked to us in January but a move failed to materialise.

With Palmeiras in the semi-final of the Copa Libertadores and top of the Brasileiro Série A with 14 games to go, they will be desperate to keep hold of their key defensive midfielder.

A bit like Caicedo, I had a theory about Danilo – that we will sign him in January.

This allows Palmeiras to complete their season, whilst also gives Danilo regular first team football. He still has a very slim chance of making Brazil’s World Cup squad.

Then in January Arsenal get a central midfielder that would have just had 6 weeks off.

Give him the month as a “pre-season” and he would be fresh and ready to go for the run-in.

I still think this is our primary plan, and is a reason we might not end up signing someone this summer.

Any new incoming would potentially block the opportunity of getting Danilo. And I am not sure we can make that deal happen in the next two days.

Youri Tielemans

The Leicester City midfielder has been linked with us for most of the summer. You have to think if a deal was going to get done it would have happened by now.

Now Tielemans is not a natural replacement for Partey and Elneny. He plays further forward and would be competition for Granit Xhaka.

Throughout the summer, I have felt he would not come in as Arteta likes Xhaka. The only way he would join is if Arsenal sold Xhaka or something happened to Partey.

Now that something has happened to Partey, he might be back on the shopping list.

Signing Tielemans would mean that Xhaka becomes Partey’s replacement.

Now the Swissman has been in fine form over the last 18 months – primarly because he has not been playing as the deepest midfielder.

His world class performances for Switzlerland always came with someone playing behind him (Denis Zakaria) and Arteta replicated that by having Partey deep and Xhaka further forward.

Moving Xhaka deeper would be a temporary option.

Partey will miss the next 5 games – Aston Villa tonight, Manchester United (away), Everton (home) and Zurich (away) and PSV (home) in the Europa League.

Bar the Man U game, none of these are particullary daunting and surely a midfield of Xhaka, Tielemans and Odergaard can cope with them?

The worry would be if Partey does not recover as expected, it would leave us relying on Xhaka for that tough October ahead of the World Cup.

And if we are talking about moving Xhaka as a temporary option, do we really need to be buying Tielemans? Or can Fabio Vieira / Albert Sambi Lokonga step up for those games?

Oleksandr Zinchenko

If we are looking at a temporary replacement, I think I would prefer to see Zinchenko come into the middle and maintain Xhaka playing further up the pitch.

Zinchenko is more mobile than Xhaka and can certainly do a job there. Whilst Xhaka will give him defensive assistance that Tielemans would not.

Morning reports were that Zinchenko was close to being fit fot Fulham, but Arsenal decided not to take the risk due to the Partey injury. That means he should be fit for tonight.

Kieran Tierney has also regained fitness and played well against Fulham.

There would be a worry as to what we would do if Tierney broke down again – but the answer would probably be play Takehiro Tomiyasu at left back (he has done it before in Italy) and keep Ben White at right back.

Playing Zinchenko central midfield allows us to keep other key players in position and provides little distruption to the team – I remember last season when Tierney was out injured we moved Xhaka to left back which created an imbalance in midfield.

After Brentford (away), we have a little international break. That gives us a month (although we play 6 times in that month) to get Partey back to fitness ahead of that October.

If the news about Partey is more positive than first thought, do we really need to splash the cash to get someone else in?

The smart move feels like utilising Zinchenko in midfield which opens the path to get Danilo in January.

Florian Grillitsch

If we do decide to go for a cheap, last minute option, then Austrian defensive midfielder Florian Grillitsch must be top of the list.

The 27-year-old is still a free agent having left 1899 Hoffenheim in the summer. Arsenal were linked with him in June.

Whilst he would be a free transfer, he would demand big wages and a 5-year deal. Is that something we want to invest on a player that we do not really want? It would feel a little too Lucas Perez for me.

You also have to question how match ready he is.

Grillitsch has not had a pre-season. And with the Premier League being the fastest and most physical league in the world, we can not just throw him in.

It will take him 2 – 3 weeks to get match ready (we would basically use the Europa League fixtures as pre-season games for him). But at that point Partey would be close to returning.

Signing Grillitsch would provide us with a replacement for Elneny and he would be a potential option if we were looking to replace Partey next summer.

I can not see Partey leaving in 12 months so Grillitsch will quickly become surplus to requirements if we sign Danilo in January.

This is one to watch if we are desperate in getting someone in that will not break the bank.



2 thoughts on “FIVE options to cover Partey and Elneny

  1. Bob

    The squad versatility is amazing.

    We can also deploy Ben White as CM, he experienced that position when he was at Brighton, I think. Tomiyasu join in as LB.


  2. Peter Burgess

    Ben White played DM for both Brighton & Leeds. Play him in this position against Villa with Tommy at RB. This allows Zinchenko an extra couple of days to get fit and become an option for Sunday against Man U.



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