Arsenal’s hopes of signing Thomas Partey this summer rest on their unlikely bid to qualify for the Champions League, according to reports.
The Gunners are very interested in the Atletico Madrid holding midfielder who has been one of Diego Simeone’s standout players in a difficult LaLiga campaign.
He came in for particular praise for his performances across both legs of the Champions League last-16 tie against Liverpool, which the Spanish side won 4-2 on aggregate.
Reports emerged this week that the midfielder’s dad suggested Atletico Madrid are locked in negotiations with the Gunners over a fee.
The player’s dad, Jacob, told a radio station how talks between his son and Arsenal were ongoing – but that Atleti are determined to hold on to him.
Reported by GhanaWeb, he said: “I called my son after hearing the rumours and he told me that the rumours are true.
“He told me they are holding talks between him and Arsenal. It all depends on the offer Atletico are demanding.
“If he goes to Arsenal fine, they have a lot supporters in Ghana.
“I will be happy if he decides to move to Arsenal. What they are discussing now is how Atletico will release him.”
However, Partey’s representatives denied talks are ongoing and claimed the reports are “totally untrue”.
Now, though, Football London report that a deal could be done to bring Partey to the Emirates – but only if Arsenal get into the Champions League for the first time since the 2016/17 season.
Partey, 26, is understood to have a £43.5million release clause in his contract at the Wanda Metropolitano, which runs until 2023.
And as things stand, Arsenal simply would not be able to afford that – especially with the coronavirus crisis.
So somehow getting back to Europe’s top table and the financial injection that comes with it could be the only option for them getting the Ghanaian star who joined Atleti from boyhood side Odometah FC in 2012.
That looks unlikely, though.
Arsenal sit ninth in the Premier League table, eight points off the top four and five off Manchester United, who are fifth but would take the fourth spot due to Manchester City’s ban.
Uefa did consider using their coefficient rankings to determine qualification for next season if league campaigns could not be completed, which would benefit the Gunners.
But with a points-based system more likely in the event of a cancelled season, Arsenal will be relying on playing their final ten games and overtaking the Red Devils.
The Gunners smashed their record transfer fee last year when they bought Nicolas Pepe from Lille.
But again, due to their financial situation, the North Londoners will pay the £72m in instalments across five years.