Liverpool legend John Barnes tells Arsenal fans what to expect from new signing Thomas Partey

Thomas Partey could make his Arsenal debut against Man City this weekend
Thomas Partey could make his Arsenal debut against Man City this weekend (Picture: Getty)

Liverpool legend John Barnes has warned Arsenal fans to be realistic over what qualities new signing Thomas Partey will add to their team.

Mikel Arteta had been desperate to reinforce his midifield over the summer and his need for greater strength in depth was exacerbated after the decision to permit the loan departures of Matteo Guendouzi was sanctioned.

After missing out on Lyon’s Houssem Aouar, the Gunners moved swiftly on deadline day to activate Partey’s £45million release clause in his Atletico Madrid contract.

The 27-year-old is now eligible to make his debut in Saturday’s heavyweight Premier League clash against Manchester City and although Barnes rates Partey as an excellent addition to the squad, he fears the player is being hyped up as something he is not.

‘Thomas Partey was necessary for Arsenal, they needed strengthening in defensive midfield, and players who could break the game up whilst leading from the back and turning defence into attack.

‘Partey is a decent player on the ball but his true qualities lie in winning the ball back and giving Arsenal that steel in midfield to protect the back four, so he is an excellent signing for them.

‘It is important that fans understand that he won’t start spraying long diagonal balls, doing step overs in the opposition half or scoring from long range.

‘Arsenal have many players such as Aubameyang and Willian who can do that for them. (Thomas) Partey will be that shield to support the defence and break up the play, which Arsenal have been crying out for a long time.

‘He really could be the difference for them this season and I am excited to see how he gets on.’

Partey will have the benefit of just one full training session with his new team-mates before the trip to the Etihad on Saturday. When asked about the chances of his headline summer recruit being included in the squad, Arteta said: ‘Today he will have his first training session, so everything has to come really quickly for him.

‘We knew that before we signed him that he is fit, he is very willing to start playing and we will see how he goes in the next few days.

‘I have seen the buzz around the place, the fans are really happy, I have seen some really positive reactions after we bought him, the same with the team, the squad and the staff.’

MORE: Mikel Arteta gives latest update on Kieran Tierney availability for Man City vs Arsenal

MORE: Mikel Arteta rates Thomas Partey’s chances of making his Arsenal debut vs Man City

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