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'We can't compare Partey with Vieira & Gilberto' - Arsenal midfielder is 'different' to legends, says Lauren

13:23 BST 17/09/2021
Gilberto Silva Thomas Partey Patrick Vieira
The former Gunners defender, who once played alongside some iconic figures, believes a star of the present has "a lot of potential to get better"

Comparing Thomas Partey to Arsenal legends Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva would be unfair, says Lauren, with a star of the present considered to be "different" to iconic holding midfielders of the past.

The Gunners have been crying out for another reliable option to fill that role since seeing a legendary squad pieced together by Arsene Wenger broken up.

Partey is the latest to have been acquired for big money, with a £45 million ($62m) deal done with Atletico Madrid in 2020, but Lauren is eager to point out that the 28-year-old - who has struggled for form and fitness in England - remains a work in progress.

What has been said?

Lauren, speaking in association with BonusFinder, told Goal of Partey: "We have to avoid comparisons because Patrick Vieira is Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva is Gilberto Silva, two world-class players.

"We have to look forward and back Thomas Partey for who he is, he's a different player in a different squad. We cannot compare Partey with Vieira or Gilberto Silva because it's not the right way to look at things.

"Partey is a quality player and he's proved that at Atletico Madrid and since he's arrived, he's been brilliant.

"We have to hope he avoids injuries because a player like Partey needs to play every single weekend and the team will benefit if he does.

"He still has a lot of potential to get better, so the more he plays then the more likely he'll reach those levels we expect of him."

How important is Partey to Arsenal?

Partey took in his first competitive outing of 2021-22 in Arsenal's last match against Norwich, with 28 minutes seen off the bench in a welcome 1-0 win.

He is now fully recovered from an ankle injury, with Mikel Arteta looking to make him a key component in a well-oiled midfield machine that will see Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard thrive with defensive cover slotted in behind them.

Lauren added on Partey's value to the collective cause at Emirates Stadium: "He's very important for those players in a 4-2-3-1 formation, I didn't think the 4-1-4-1 against Villarreal in the Europa League suited this team.

"Partey is better as a two and allowing his partner to be more advanced and it also helps the likes of Smith-Rowe and Odegaard.

"He balances the back four by giving protection and balances the forward players because they have freedom to go forward.

"It's important he plays in this role to get the best out of him, but we have to keep our fingers crossed that he doesn't pick up any more injuries."

Arsenal, who have finally registered their first points and goal of the new Premier League season, will be back in action on Saturday when taking in a trip to Burnley.

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