‘Arsenal should prioritise Partey over Aouar’ – Winterburn doubts Arteta can afford both

Houssem Aouar Thomas ParteyGetty

Arsenal are taking the right approach in seeking midfield reinforcements, say Nigel Winterburn, with Mikel Arteta being urged to prioritise Thomas Partey over Houssem Aouar if only one top target can be snapped up.

The Gunners are currently exploring options in Spanish and French markets.

Atletico Madrid midfielder Partey has registered on the recruitment radar at Emirates Stadium for some time, while Lyon playmaker Aouar has become a much sought-after talent at just 22 years of age.

Winterburn admits that any opportunity to land both should be embraced by Arsenal.

He is, however, not convinced that a double deal can be pulled off, given the financial constraints in north London, and feels Partey’s power should be favoured over Aouar’s flair if a tough call has to be made.

The former Gunners defender told FreeSuperTips: “Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar are the right sort of names to be linked with Arsenal. 

“At times, for long periods, Arsenal have good possession of the ball. But when teams set up defensively, they struggle to break the opponent down. 

“Last weekend [in a 2-1 win over West Ham] was actually a poor performance by Arsenal, but I’m happy about the result because last season that would have been a game that Arsenal would have lost.

“I've said for the last two seasons, that the Arsenal squad needs to be changed and refreshed. Mikel Arteta has come in, he’s addressed the defensive issues, and by considering Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey it looks like he’s starting to address the problems in midfield as well.

“Arsenal’s big issue is that they've got so many midfield players, they probably need to offload some before they can bring more in. However, players like Thomas Partey and Houssem Aouar are players that I'm pleased to see Arsenal linked with. They are different types of players that can bolster a midfield.

“I really like Partey because he is quick, solid and powerful off the ball as much as on it. There have been times in the past when Arsenal fail to break things down because of the pace of other teams on the counterattack, which is something that Partey could come in to do. 

“He takes the ball in tight situations and has the power and the ability to go past the opposing midfield players. Once you start to eliminate in this way, as Partey does, you tend to open space in and around the opposition’s defence. With Arsenal's pace up front, they can take advantage of this and cause some damage. 

“Mikel Arteta is not totally happy with the midfield that he currently has and looks like he wants to change it up. 

“As always with Arsenal it takes a long time to get things done. We're just going to have to again wait and see, but I don’t believe that Arsenal have the money to bring them both in. 

“Also, when discussing ideal signings, we forget to consider whether those players want to join Arsenal, and that's the most important thing. So, we’ve got to wait and see, but my preference of the two would be Thomas Partey.”