Arsenal news: Ten interesting facts about Gunners star Thomas Partey

Partey

Thomas Partey's deadline day switch to Arsenal was one of the most sensational stories of the entire window. 

With less than 48 hours to go until the deadline, there was an absence of expectation amongst the Gunners faithful, a feeling of inevitable failure following a summer-long pursuit. 

But the pervading pessimism did not extend to Arsenal's hierarchy who eventually managed to pull off a sensational coup in the dying stages of the window. 

What we do know about Partey from his Atletico Madrid days is that he is an incredibly gifted footballer, one capable of galvanising his side from the holding midfield position, as his £45m transfer fee would suggest.

And Partey's brilliant full debut against Rapid Vienna suggested he'll be worth every bit of his price tag. 

The Europa League display left plenty of pundits gushing over the new signing.

Arsenal legends Martin Keown and Ray Parlour likened him to Patrick Vieira while Owen Hargreaves labelled the performance as "one of the best ever" debuts. 

But what else do we know about the Ghana international, aside from the fact that he's clearly an immensely talented player?

Here, GiveMeSport break down ten interesting facts about Partey that you might not know...

1. Nicknamed “The Octopus”

Partey

In a game of top trumps the player sat with "The Octopus" card is probably going to win the nickname category. 

In one of his first interviews after signing for the club, Partey revealed that he has been compared to the eight-limbed mollusc. 

“I always say, if I would be an animal, I would be an octopus. 

“I remember when I was in Almería they called me ‘the octopus’ because I stole a lot of balls.”

Partey's ability to retrieve possession for his side is one of his most outstanding traits and he'll be expected to use all eight of his tentacles to mop up in front of Arsenal's defensive unit during his time at the club. 

However, the 27-year-old is not the first Premier League player to don this nickname.

The former Manchester City holding midfielder Fernando was also nicknamed "The Octopus" by Porto fans prior to his arrival in England, but there was a glaring lack of compelling evidence on show during his time in Manchester to vindicate the sea creature comparison.

2. Arsenal's six-year long interest 

Wenger

According to The Athletic, Arsenal were interested in Partey long before his transfer went through.

Back when the midfielder was cutting his teeth in the game, playing as an attacking-minded midfielder on loan at Almeria, Arsenal scout Francis Cagigao identified him as a good fit for Arsene Wenger's side. 

It doesn't seem that a formal bid was ever placed, but it's intriguing to note how long Partey has been on the Gunners' radar. 

3. Part-owns a Spanish football team

Partey

Partey is a part-owner of Club Deportivo Paracuellos Antamira, formerly known as Fútbol Alcobendas Sport, a Spanish 4th division side.

Based in Alcobendas, approximately 13 kilometres north of Madrid, and with a 3000-seater stadium, the club has provided opportunities for African players to make the transition into Europe, just as Partey did at the beginning of his journey to the Premier League. 

4. 5th most expensive African player in Premier League history

Pepe

The £45m deal made Partey the most expensive Ghanaian in history, eclipsing the £24.4m Chelsea paid to secure Michael Essien back in 2005. 

From a continental perspective, though, he is the 5th most expensive African player in Premier League history. 

His new teammate, Nicolas Pepe, tops the list following his £72m transfer in 2019, and he is followed by Riyad Mahrez, another Arsenal star in Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Naby Keita.

5. Handed Ghana debut by a former Chelsea manager  

Partey

Partey made his Ghana debut in an African Cup of Nations qualifier back in May 2016, and it was the former Chelsea manager Avram Grant who handed him his first opportunity on the international stage.

The midfielder has since gone on to pick up 26 caps in total, scoring nine goals - including four in four World Cup qualifying games - and providing four assists in the process. 

Grant was clearly impressed by what he saw from Partey during his time as manager of the Black Stars: 

"He will prove a good signing, perfect for what Mikel Arteta is trying to do.

"When you need him to hold the ball up, he can do that and he is a great fit for what Arteta is trying to make his team."

6. Goal scoring record

Partey

Partey certainly wasn't signed for his goal scoring prowess.

His return of just 19 career goals is a reflection on the type of role he has been expected to play during his career.

But if he is going to find the net, you can bet it'll be with his favoured right boot - 79% of his career goals have been via his favoured foot.

If you're expecting towering headers from set-pieces then you'll be disappointed: he's only scored one headed goal in his career. 

Only once has Partey managed to score more than three goals in a single season, which arrived during his loan spell with Almeria in the 2014/15 campaign.

7. Arsenal's heavy scouting 

Thomas Partey

The Gunners' long-standing interest in Partey was well documented in the summer and beyond.

Rumours linking him with a move to the Emirates Stadium have cropped up regularly since 2018, and it appears they were all based on genuine interest. 

Indeed, The Athletic claim Arsenal scouts watched him in action on more than 20 separate occasions over the last two years. 

8. 6th highest valued defensive midfielder in world football

Kimmich

According to Transfermarkt's database, there are only five more valuable defensive midfielders in world football than Partey.

His £45m valuation is in line with the price Arsenal paid for his signature, but a handful of household names sit above him in the rankings. 

Joshua Kimmich tops the list with a £76.5m valuation and he is followed by Casemiro (£58.5m), Rodri (£57.6m), Fabinho (£54m) and Declan Rice (£49.5m). 

9. Disciplinary record

Thomas Partey

A willingness to collect yellow and red cards is an essential part of the job description for any budding holding midfielder. 

Speed in transition has become an integral feature of the modern game and added a new twist to the culture of tactical fouling. 

All holding midfielders are tasked with the role of winning possession for their side, but in some instances - not necessarily through any fault of their own - they are required to upend their opponent and terminate the attack before the defence is fully exposed. 

That expectation naturally makes holding midfielders more likely to pick up red cards, but Partey has managed to evade that outcome for the vast majority of his career. 

He has collected 53 yellow cards in his career - twice collecting 13 in one season - but just one red card, which was brandished for two bookable offences in Atletico's home derby defeat against Real Madrid in 2019. 

10. His half-brother is also a footballer

Partey

Partey's half-brother, namely Francis Narh, is also a professional footballer. 

The 26-year-old currently plays for Slavia Mozyr in the Belarusian first tier having joined in July 2019. 

A flying winger by trade, Narh has contributed five goals and one assist in 23 games so far this season. 

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