Thomas Partey appears capable of becoming Arsenal’s next Patrick Vieira, says Ray Parlour, but the Ghana international has been charged with the task of proving in big games that he is a “proper player”.
Early indications suggest that a man snapped up from Atletico Madrid for £45 million ($59m) slots seamlessly into that category.
An impressive performance was put in on his first start for the Gunners, with Mikel Arteta’s side battling back from a goal down to edge out Rapid Vienna 2-1 in their Europa League opener.
Partey has been showered with plaudits on the back of his eye-catching display, with comparisons already being made with Arsenal icon Vieira.
Parlour believes the 27-year-old can live up to the hype, but concedes that there will be bigger challenges to come for a midfielder that is still finding his feet in new surroundings.
The former Gunners winger told talkSPORT: “You can see he has got all the attributes to be like a Patrick Vieira. If he gets anywhere near Patrick Vieira we have had a right result as an Arsenal fan!
“They knew what they were buying there - a very strong player that we lacked in that area - but let’s not get carried away, let’s give him a chance.
“Let’s wait until we are playing the big sides like Manchester City, Liverpool and see if he can boss midfield then. If he can do it then, then we can say we have got a proper player here.”
Arsenal are considered to have been lacking a player of Partey’s ilk for some time.
Such talent was once commonplace at the heart of the Gunners’ midfield, but patience and big money has been required in order to find another enforcer that boasts the potential to follow in some illustrious footsteps.
“He’s a really good presence,” Parlour added. “I don’t think they have had that in midfield. They haven’t been mobile enough over the last few years, but he’s that man to fill in all the gaps.
“He’s six foot one, he’s got that presence, he’s got that mobility in the midfield area.
“When they started flooding people forward trying to get back into the game [against Rapid Vienna], he was the one that just sat in midfield and made everything tick.
“He’s very efficient and had a really good start to his Arsenal career. He could be a really big signing for Arsenal going forward because they have missed someone like him in that midfield area for many years.”
Partey will be hoping to retain his starting berth in Arsenal’s next outing, allowing him to make his full Premier League debut against Leicester – with a bow in the English top-flight having been made off the bench in the 1-0 defeat at Manchester City.