Arsenal could face competition if they pursue Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey this summer, after the player’s father declared that any club who triggers his €50m (£45m) release clause can sign his son.
What’s more, Jacob Partey has warned it is not ‘specifically Arsenal’ who will have that opportunity, opening up the developing saga to as many clubs as possible.
Partey has become a key player in Diego Simeone’s Atletico side over recent seasons, playing more than 30 La Liga games in 2017/18 and 2018/19 and set to do so again in 2019/20. Yet his existing release clause remains relatively low and is seen by many to be low hanging fruit.
Arsenal have been heavily linked with the 26-year-old over the past few months as new boss Mikel Arteta sets out in a new direction from the squad he inherited from predecessor Unai Emery.
“My son's current club, Atletico de Madrid, has a termination clause for him. This means that any club that shows interest in signing him must comply with those demands,” Jacob Partey is quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo (MD) following an appearance on Ghanaian radio.
“Any team that meets Atletico's demand will be able to sign my son, and not specifically Arsenal.”
The quotes somewhat come across as an attempt to scare the Gunners into action.
Partey is under contract at Atletico until 2023 and MD explains his preferred desire to stay at Wanda Metropolitano as soon as the club present him with an acceptable improved deal.
The subject of Partey’s future has already become something of a soap opera. His father was quoted as saying in April that talks with Arsenal had started, but that was then soon denied as ‘totally untrue’ by the agency that represents the player, JJ Sport.
JJ Sport then later apologised for stoking the fires surrounding a potential transfer themselves when the firm’s Instagram page shared an image of Partey featuring Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain as possible destinations.
The post was deleted and deemed an ‘unfortunate mistake’ by JJ Sport, who vowed to restrict access to their social media accounts and launch an internal investigation into the matter.