Thomas Partey capped his stunning Arsenal turnaround by netting in Sunday’s crucial 2-0 win over Leicester to nudge the Gunners back into the top-four.
Partey made a stuttering start to life in England after arriving in north London in a £45million deal from Atletico Madrid.
But he’s now the driving force behind Arsenal’s bid to return to the Champions League after a multi-year exile.
And it’s been revealed by football.london that Partey is reaping the benefits of extra work he put in during his torrid time last year in a bid to evolve into one of the Gunners’ main men.
The report outlines how Partey made the most of his prolonged period out of the team by putting in extra work during his stint on the sidelines to build up his muscles in a bid to adapt to the rigours of the Premier League.
That extra work has helped Partey to emerge as one of the most important players for Mikel Arteta’s side this term – banishing memories of his mediocre maiden season in north London.
The midfielder himself admitted that he’d give his first year at the club “a four out of 10.
But Partey is now looking the part for the Gunners, who was billed as the enforcer that Arsenal desperately needed when he arrived back in 2020.
The 28-year-old has struck up an effective partnership with Granit Xhaka at the base of the Gunners midfield.
That rock-solid pairing has provided the platform for Arsenal’s plethora of young, attacking talent the freedom to go and win football matches.
But Jamie Redknapp argued at the weekend that Partey is “a lot more than just a defensive player” in the wake of his recent performances for the Londoners.
And he believes that he has the type of “aura” required to be a pivotal player for Arsenal as they bid to muscle their way back amongst Europe’s elite.
“He is lovely on the ball. He is not scared to receive it in tight areas, he breaks the play up and Arsenal fans have been crying out for this for many, many years,” Redknapp told Sky Sports. “They win the ball back and allow the team to break forward.
“When he first arrived from Atletico, he suffered with a lot of injuries.
“But he just has everything, he has that aura about him. He knows when to play the ball, slow the play down, picking the pass in between the lines. You can see that what he does with Xhaka, he gives Odegaard that platform to go and perform.
“He is a lot more than just a defensive player, he can do a lot more because he is so good on the ball.”