Reported Arsenal target Thomas Partey has been praised by Ghana legend Michael Essien, who admitted he wished he could’ve played alongside his compatriot, as reported by Goal.com.
The Telegraph reported earlier in May that Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is interested in signing the Atletico Madrid man, who in turn would be open to a move to the Emirates Stadium this summer.
Partey has come through the ranks at Atletico and has made 174 competitive senior appearances, registering 15 goals and 12 assists, and has helped Los Colchoneros win the 2017-18 Europa League and the 2018 UEFA Super Cup.
Speculation linking the 26-year-old to Arsenal gathered pace in April when his father was quoted as saying that both parties have been in contact about a possible switch to London.
“I called my son after hearing the rumours and he told me that the rumours are true,” Jacob Partey told Tru FM’s Sports World Show, as quoted by Football London. “He told me they are holding talks between him and Arsenal.”
Though the player’s agency, JJ Sports, subsequently told Marca that the speculation linking him with the Gunners was “all fake”, reports continue to emerge linking the two parties together.
Essien, who starred for Arsenal’s London rivals Chelsea during his career, sent more plaudits Partey’s way during an interview on Instagram Live.
“Thomas is such a good player,” said Essien, as quoted by Goal.com. “I’d have loved to play with him.
“He is a young and talented player making waves in Europe. He is one player I’d liked to play alongside but it will never happen.
“It is their time at the Black Stars now so we have to support them and hopefully they can take it from where we left off.”
Partey is a player of the highest calibre, a key member of the Atletico side which knocked current Champions League holders Liverpool out of the competition at the last 16 stage.
A no-nonsense defensive midfielder, his reputation is growing across European football, and he’s shown he can impress on the elite stage, as Essien said.
Partey usually sits in a deeper midfield role in front of the back four and is an expert at breaking up play with his aggressive tackling and reading of the game, something Arsenal really could do with.