Arsenal secured arguably the coup of the transfer window when they signed Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid on deadline day.
It is hoped the 27-year-old will be the transformative signing Mikel Arteta has yearned for as he looks to restore the Gunners to their former status as one of the Premier League’s top sides.
The club’s spending on Partey certainly underlines the importance of the midfielder to Arteta’s vision for the club, with a staggering £110million deal brokered on the final day of the transfer window.
Arsenal had to trigger a £52.5m release clause to land the Ghana international.
Then there’s the midfielder’s salary of at least £200,000per week for four years, plus a £2.5m signing-on fee and ten per cent agent commission.
Eyebrows have been raised as to how the Gunners have been able to afford such an outlay, given that the club made 55 redundancies earlier this summer with football feeling the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Arsenal had also signed Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes, as well as tying Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new three-year contract.
Throughout the summer, the messages emanating from the Emirates seemed to signal that Arsenal would have to sell players in order to land Partey.
But interest in Matteo Guendouzi fell through before the midfielder finally joined Hertha Berlin on deadline day, while a proposed permanent move for Sead Kolasinac to Bayer Leverkusen collapsed the same day.
Lucas Torreira also went out on loan on the final day of the window, to Atletico, while the club are still paying the £350,000 wages of Mesut Ozil, who hasn’t played since March.
However, Stan Kroenke came to the rescue after Arsenal’s owners were made aware of the importance of signing Partey.
Kroenke Sports & Entertainment approved the deadline day swoop at the request of Arteta, with Kroenke underwriting all Arsenal’s transfer business and losses amid the pandemic.
Arsenal currently sit fourth in the Premier League table after winning all their opening games but one – their defeat to reigning champions Liverpool.
Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have been starved of title glory for a while now – but things could be changing as a new-look Arsenal side plot a course to success.
New signings Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes both hit the ground running against Fulham but Mikel Arteta is still on the lookout for new signings. Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and Brentford keeper David Raya are two of the names on their radar.
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The hope is that with Partey giving Arteta’s side greater protection at the back, the Gunners’ numerous attacking talents will be free to play a more expansive style – and that they’ll still be in that top four come the end of the season.
The holy grail of a return to Champions League football might just start to pay back some of that huge transfer outlay.