Opinion: Arsenal should switch focus to £36m-rated rising star following Thomas Partey transfer snub

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Arsenal reportedly look set to miss out on the transfer of Thomas Partey, who seems set to stay at current club Atletico Madrid instead.

The Ghana international had been strongly linked with the Gunners in recent times, with CaughtOffside revealing that he was a priority for manager Mikel Arteta despite some concerns over being able to afford his asking price.

However, it now looks like Partey is unlikely to move to Arsenal, with Ghana Soccernet reporting that he’s snubbed them and looks set to sign a new contract with Atletico.

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This is a big blow for Arsenal manager Arteta, who looks in dire need of more quality in midfield next season, following underwhelming seasons from the likes of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi in particular.

It remains to be seen who the north London giants might target next, but we think there’s likely to be a battle for highly-rated Borussia Monchengladbach starlet Denis Zakaria in the near future.

Liverpool were recently linked with the talented 23-year-old by Football Insider, and Arsenal have got to join the running for his signature if the Partey deal really is dead in the water.

Zakaria is one of the finest defensive midfield players in the Bundesliga at the moment, having just played a starring role for Gladbach as they finished fourth in the German top flight, securing Champions League football for next season.

denis zakaria gladbach
Denis Zakaria in action for Borussia Monchengladbach

A tall and tough but elegant player, Zakaria is the ideal modern midfield all-rounder, and it may well be that he’s one of the cheaper options on the market this summer as Transfermarkt value him at just £36million.

One imagines Gladbach would ask for a little more than that, but there is surely potential for some fine business to be done there for Arsenal.

WhoScored rank the Switzerland international as Gladbach’s third best rated player this season based on his stats, while he’s also the seventh highest ranked midfield player in the Bundesliga.

With two goals and two assists, it’s clear Zakaria is mainly focused on his defensive duties, which could be useful in an Arsenal side that needs to protect its dodgy defence. With an average of 2.1 tackles per game and 1.6 interceptions, he looks like he could be just the man for that particular job.

Many Arsenal fans would argue that the club never really adequately replaced the legendary Patrick Vieira, who was one of the most important players of the Arsene Wenger era, and remains one of the greatest midfielders of the Premier League era.

That’s a tough act for any player to follow, but Arsenal would surely be in a better position now if at any point in recent years they’d managed to sign the likes of N’Golo Kante, Fernandinho or Fabinho.

It remains to be seen if Zakaria can end up having a similar impact at a big club, but he looks to have the raw ingredients to give AFC something they’re badly lacking right now, and in truth an upgrade on lightweight players like Xhaka and Guendouzi shouldn’t be too hard to find as long as they’re willing to go toe-to-toe with their rivals and pay big to get them.

More Stories Denis Zakaria Mikel Arteta Thomas Partey