It can be one of the more annoying clichés when a player is labelled as being “like a new signing” when they return from injury, but it’s actually pretty fitting for Thomas Partey at Arsenal as we approach the end of the season.
He arrived with a lot of fanfare from Atletico Madrid towards the end of the transfer window last summer, but the circumstances have been against him.
He was already playing catch up because of the late arrival so it was going to take him extra time to settle, while he’s been denied a proper run of games because of injury issues.
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A report from Goal has looked at some comments from Mikel Arteta where he was talking about the £45m signing, and you can see that he knows there’s more to come:
“Hopefully we will see the best version of Thomas at Sheffield United on Sunday and against Slavia Prague next week.
“Now that he has got a sequence of two or three games I think we’ll see him finishing the season in a really strong way.
“It’s very difficult to make a proper assessment of Thomas’ performances so far because he has missed six months and that is a long time.
“He is still adapting to our way of playing, which is different to what he did at Atletico, but we can all see what he brings to the team.
“It’s about him finding the level of consistency that we need from him because he has the capacity that we can build a team that can play around him.
“The biggest difficulty he has had so far is that he has not been fit. Then every time he recovered, he missed the next game.
“He has not had time to prepare himself physically to play at the highest level and that has obviously had an impact because the Premier League demands real fitness.”
Hopefully he is able to get that run of games going into the summer, while he could have a much greater influence next season if he’s fit and able to get a proper pre-season under his belt.
Obviously he isn’t a new signing, but he might feel like one if he’s able to live up to expectations next season.