Exclusive - Arsenal have enquired to Atletico Madrid about the possibility of paying midfielder Thomas Partey’s release clause in instalments as the Gunners explore ways to stretch what will be a limited transfer budget for a necessary squad rebuild this summer.
The Gunners already had financial concerns even prior to the impact of the coronavirus crisis, which has seen the club negotiate a pay cut with players in recent months.
A lack of available transfer funds will make it a difficult summer for new manager Mikel Arteta, who has already admitted that there are a ‘a lot of rocks in our way’.
One player of particular interest to Arsenal in the transfer market is Atletico’s Partey. The Ghanaian international has a release clause of £45m, but 90min has been informed that the Gunners have asked Atletico if they could pay that figure in stages.
Ordinarily, triggering a release clause would entail paying the full fee up front, cutting the selling club out of the process and essentially buying the player out of their contract. Arsenal would need Atletico to agree to an instalment plan because it is not technically triggering the clause.
As things stand, Atletico are at least considering their options. While the Spanish club would prefer the full cash sum in one go for Partey, the presence of Marcos Llorente in the squad could make them more willing to compromise over a payment structure for Partey.
Sources close to Atletico have indicated to 90min that a deal may be palatable because Partey is expected to fall behind Llorente in the midfield pecking order next season.
It has been widely understood for some time that Arsenal will have to sell players in order to boost their transfer budget. 90min has been told that the club hierarchy is open to sanctioning the sales of Matteo Guendouzi and possibly former captain Granit Xhaka, if interest builds, to raise money.
Guendouzi’s future at the club has already been the subject of speculation and uncertainty in the last few weeks, stemming from concerns over his attitude and behaviour and whether he has the necessary discipline to succeed under Arteta.