Atlético Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey is believed to have made no secret of his desire to join Arsenal this summer, and the Gunners could use striker Alexandre Lacazette as part of their bid to sign him.
Finding a reliable defensive midfielder has been high on Arsenal’s agenda for what feels like an eternity, and current boss Mikel Arteta is thought to be determined to add a high-profile name to try and help his side back up the Premier League table next season.
Atlético have been working to tie Partey down to a new contract, primarily to remove his £45m release clause, but they are yet to reach an agreement with the 26-year-old, who confessed that ‘everything can happen’ when asked about potentially leaving the club.
Given his release clause still remains active, Atlético are bracing themselves for numerous approaches for Partey’s signature. Manchester United, Inter and Roma have all been touted as potential suitors, but Arsenal may have the advantage as they can offer Lacazette in exchange.
Diego Simeone’s side are thought to be keen on the Frenchman, who they see as the ideal candidate to bolster their struggling front line, and Arsenal are open to selling for the right price.
In a summer of financial uncertainty caused by the coronavirus outbreak, swap deals have been suggested to be the best option for everyone. Atlético are one of several sides who would be interested in such deals, so swapping Partey for Lacazette may be their best bet.
Atlético could well be hit harder by the financial crisis if they miss out on Champions League qualification for next season. As it stands, they sit sixth in La Liga, and any decision to cancel the remainder of the season would likely force them to miss out on qualifying.
Arsenal could take advantage of that situation by moving for Partey, with Arteta eager to add some more competition in an area of his squad which already includes Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira.
Midfield is Arteta’s priority this summer. On top of finding a defensive midfielder, replacing the outgoing Dani Ceballos is also thought to be high on the boss’ wish list.