Thomas Partey has been named on the bench by Diego Simeone for Atletico Madrid’s first La Liga game of 2020/21 against Granada, amid continued links to Arsenal.
The Ghana international was left out of the starting XI, with the Argentine tactician packing his midfield with Angel Correa, Koke, Saul and Yannick Carrasco instead.
There have been no reports of Partey carrying any kind of injury or him lacking match fitness.
👥 Your first 𝟮𝟬/𝟮𝟭 𝗔𝘁𝗹𝗲𝘁𝗶 𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗫𝗜 🔥
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 27, 2020
The development is bound to increase speculation about a potential move to Arsenal for the player, with the Gunners having reportedly made him a priority target.
He and Lyon’s Houssem Aouar are believed to be on Arsenal’s agenda as the transfer window draws to a close, with the club having reportedly had an offer rejected for the Frenchman.
Atleti have continually stood firm over Partey this summer, and it is thought they won’t sell for anything less than the value of release clause (£45 million, Express).
TBR’s View – A sign of something happening?
Atleti leaving Partey out of their starting lineup is very interesting.
It could well just be a tactical call from Simeone, but it could also be that something is going on behind the scenes, and maybe the player’s head is not totally clear right now.
Partey is a key player for Atleti and tends to start most games, so it is a little suspect that – amid all the Arsenal speculation – he has been benched for the first game.
Maybe if there wasn’t something going on then the 27-year-old would be in the team as normal.
The fact does remain though, Arsenal still need to raise funds in order to trigger that release clause.