Arsenal hero Paul Merson admits he is shocked his former club managed to sign Thomas Partey this summer. Partey joined Arsenal from Atletico Madrid on transfer deadline day after the Gunners activated his £45million release. But Merson thinks the Ghana international is good enough to have joined either Manchester United or Manchester City instead.
Partey put in a strong performance in Arsenal’s 1-0 win at United in the Premier League on Sunday.
The 27-year-old displayed the skills that fans of Atletico had come accustomed with over the last few years.
Merson says Arsenal supporters should not get carried away with their first league win at Old Trafford since 2006.
But he believes Partey is the signing of the summer and cannot understand why the likes of United did not pursue him.
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“It was a good away performance. It wasn’t great – I wouldn’t get carried away and say, ‘Oh my god it’s a turning point’,” Merson told Sky Sports.
“They beat a terribly, terribly poor Manchester United team on the day.
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“They’ve done a job, we’ve seen them lose those games over the last five or six years.
“But I think Partey’s a massive, massive difference. I mean, what a signing.
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“When you talk about signings in the summer, he’s got to be number one. I cannot believe, without being horrible here, that Arsenal got him.
“I don’t mean that in a horrible way, they’re all crying out for it – I know Manchester United are top-heavy and they’ve got Fred, [Scott] McTominay and [Nemanja] Matic, but they haven’t got a Partey.
“Manchester City, too. Fernandinho’s coming towards the end, Rodri hasn’t really pulled up any trees. You’re thinking, ‘Wow, who didn’t see this?’”
United legend Roy Keane wishes his former side signed Partey and can see the midfielder matching the achievements of former Gunners captain Patrick Vieira.
“He was outstanding,” Keane said on Sky Sports.
“He’s obviously no mug having played in big games. When you watch a player live that’s when you can judge a player and the more I look at him the more I wish he was in the United midfield.
“He’s big, strong and aggressive – and he can pass it forward. He can deal with the ball.
“I had my battles with Vieira and I think this kid has got a chance of matching what Patrick used to do.”
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