The London giants chaotic end to the summer transfer window took supporters through a range of emotions. Excitement over the pursuit of Houssem Aouar, pain when Lyon confirmed he would be staying in France, despair on the morning of deadline day and unbridled joy once it was confirmed Thomas Partey was an Arsenal footballer.
While the jubilation that has followed Ghana international’s arrival is completely justified, there’s no escaping only how real the despair that Houssem wasn’t to arrive was. Now Thomas is here and the return of PL football is upon us, the question may be ‘who cares now? We just signed another top midfielder’.
That may be true, but for the Spanish manager and Edu, that won’t detract from how much they wanted to get the Frenchman to Arsenal. A very different footballer to Thomas, it wasn’t an issue of one or the other to fix the Gunners midfield.
Instead, they were two pieces to the puzzle that would have truly elevated the London giants under the Spanish boss. Although Ghana international has the ability to travel with the ball and feed his attackers, he’s a much more all-action, box-to-box midfielder.
Similarly, France international isn’t afraid to rise to the physical challenges that come in midfield, but he is a much more creative talent, a creative talent that is missed in the Gunners midfield whenever Mesut Ozil is not on the pitch.
The 31-year-old playmaker hasn’t played a minute of competitive football for Gunners since lockdown and with that, Arsenal’s struggles breaking down teams in the final third became very apparent.