More Than Just A Name, Five Things You Need To Know About Arsenal’s Thomas Partey

Here are five things you probably didn't know about Arsenal's new £45m man
13:00, 06 Oct 2020

Yes, yes, we’ve seen all the posts and the hashtags, so he’s got a great surname. But there’s a lot more to Arsenal’s new £45m signing Thomas Partey than that. The midfielder who joined from Atletico Madrid is expected to bring high energy and defensive nous to The Gunners and he’s got bags of experience, playing 188 times for the Spanish side. But what else do we need to know about ‘The Thomas Partey’…?

Geography is not his strong point…

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He grew up in the eastern Ghanian town of Odumase Krobo but his father - his own flesh and blood no less - bestowed upon him the nickname ‘Senegal’ as a kid. Yes that Senegal, the African nation that lies more than 1,000 miles up the North Western coast of the continent.

So why Senegal? Well, apparently it’s because when he was younger the way he played football reminded his father of a friend called Senegal. That’s parent power, right there. The young Senegal has gone on to play 27 times for his native Ghana. He’s now the country’s vice captain and has been named Ghana’s Player of the Year in 2018 and 2019. No news on how his dad’s friend’s football career panned out.

He owns a football club…

Well, he part owns it with some other investors but you get the picture. Club Deportivo Paracuellos Antamira, formerly known as Fútbol Alcobendas Sport, play in the equivalent of the fourth division of Spanish football. Based in northern Madrid, it’s a long way from the bright lights of Atletico, with a stadium capacity of just 3,000. But the club has become a home for several players making their own journey from African to Spanish football, just as Partey did himself.

Dramatic departures are what he does... 

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It went right down to the wire, Patey’s departure for North London was finally confirmed just hours before the transfer window closed. His former boss at Atletico, Diego Simeone, is reported to be “seething” at losing Partey, and we all know that Simone is good at “seething”, it’s his thing. But it’s not the first time Partey has exited stage left in dramatic fashion. His move to Spain was like something out of a mob movie. His father (him again) had been planning his son’s move to Spain with his agent. At the time he was playing with Ghanaian second division side Tema Youth. Then one day he was driven (at high speed obviously) to Kotoka International Airport in the Ghanian capital of Accra. There he was handed his passport and told he was leaving immediately. Gone. The rest of his family only found out he’d left when he signed for Atletico Madrid.

His idol is a former Chelsea legend…

Growing up there was only one player for Partey and that was fellow Ghanaian midfielder Michael Essien. Yes, the same Michael Essien who loved to score screamers for Chelsea against Arsenal. We’ll never forget the outside of the boot worldie from December 2006. Stunning. Turns out Essien is now a big fan of Partey. The circle of life…

He can play anywhere…(almost)

His natural position is as a defensive midfielder, but he’s played as a winger, at centre back, full back and even up front as a striker. Which only leaves between the sticks for him to complete the set. And we can expect goals when he lines out for Arsenal, he’s scored 10 in 27 games for this beloved Ghana, bagging a hat-trick in a World Cup qualifier against Congo in September 2017.