Arsenal were among the biggest movers on transfer deadline day after they triggered the £45 million release clause of Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.
The transfer was completed just minutes before the window closed on Monday night, with Arsenal ending weeks of speculation on a dramatic deadline day in north London.
The Ghana midfielder has long been one of Arsenal’s top targets in the midfield, a position Mikel Arteta and technical director Edu have been desperate to strengthen this summer.
Arsenal had previously tried to negotiate a lower fee for Partey but Atletico were insistent that the only way he could leave was through his release clause being paid in full.
In a statement on Monday night, Atletico said representatives from Arsenal had triggered the clause at 11.28pm in Spain, half an hour before the closure of the window.
Partey is a dynamic player who is known for his physical presence in midfield as well as his technical ability on the ball. The 27-year-old, whose contract could be worth more than £200,000-per-week with bonuses, has scored 10 goals in 27 appearances for his country.
“Thomas has all the right attributes to be a top player for Arsenal,” said Edu. “He is a leader on and off the pitch and he is exactly the kind of player and person we want at the club.
“With his all-round game and positive aggressive style, he will be a brilliant addition to our squad. We’ve made a strong start to the season and we want to continue to build on this with Thomas now part of our club.”
Atletico were not aware until late afternoon that Partey’s release clause was about to triggered by the Premier League club. Partey has been a key part of Diego Simeone’s midfield in recent years and has made more than 40 appearances in each of the last three seasons.
Lucas Torreira last night moved in the other direction after a loan deal was finalised with Atletico. The Uruguayan will play for Atletico for the rest of this campaign after the two clubs agreed a season-long loan. Arsenal were also hoping to send out young defender William Saliba on loan and were working on a deal up until the deadline.
The move for Partey came as Arsenal were finally able to find a club willing to take Matteo Guendouzi off their hands. Guendouzi has been available for transfer ever since he fell out of favour under Arteta following a bust-up with Brighton’s Neal Maupay in June.
Guendouzi has not played a single minute since that match at the Amex and was available for sale all summer. Arsenal have struggled to find a buyer, although they were able to strike a deal with Hertha Berlin for the German side to take him on a season-long loan.
Guendouzi will have just one year remaining on his Arsenal contract next summer, when he returns from Germany. Arsenal will therefore hope he succeeds in Germany and that they are able to sell him for a significant transfer fee.
Arsenal were also hoping to find a new club for Sead Kolasinac but they could not reach an agreement with Bayer Leverkusen. Centre-back Sokratis was another player who was available for transfer after falling down the pecking order under Arteta but, again, it proved impossible to shift a player who earns big wages and is willing to fight for his place.
Mesut Ozil remains at the club, despite proposals from Saudi Arabia and Qatar and his lack of game time under Arteta. His £350,000-per-week wages will continue to be a significant drain on club resources.