Thomas Partey is an “absolute steal” for Arsenal at £45 million ($59m), says Paul Merson, with a midfielder who could “play for anyone” addressing the biggest need for those at Emirates Stadium.
The Gunners have been crying out for another commanding presence in their engine room.
Having once boasted the likes of Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva in that part of the field, the north London outfit has faced accusations of becoming a little soft at their centre.
Finding a suitable successor to some iconic figures was never going to be easy, or cheap.
Arsenal have, however, found considerable value in Partey, who was snapped up from Atletico Madrid over the summer.
He has slotted seamlessly into the fold under Arteta, with his performances earning widespread praise as the likes of Merson become fully aware of the qualities that he brings to the fold.
“They’ve got that player now. Before you looked and you thought ‘not good enough in midfield’,” former Arsenal playmaker Merson told Sky Sports.
“You’ve got [Granit] Xhaka and whoever it might be playing with him. They haven’t got that pass, and they play deep, and it’s just workmanlike.
“I can’t speak highly enough of him. When they said Partey looks like he’s going to Arsenal for £45m, I thought ‘am I missing a trick here?’
“I can't speak highly enough of him, it's an absolute steal for Arsenal.
“It's a shame that [Mesut] Ozil can't play because I think he opens up the space for Ozil.”
Partey is unlikely to get the opportunity to work alongside Ozil any time soon.
A World Cup winner has been firmly frozen out of the picture at Emirates Stadium, with Arteta making some surprising selection calls.
No place has been found for Ozil in Europa League or Premier League squads.
He appears to be stumbling his way towards free agency in 2021, with the German considered to be part of Arsenal’s past.