Mikel Arteta responds to Arsenal's link with Thomas Partey

Mikel Arteta has suggested Arsenal’s transfer plans may need to be adapted this summer after the club were linked with a move for Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey.

The coronavirus pandemic has already hit the finances of clubs across Europe, while Arsenal’s transfer budget could be restricted even further if they fail to make next season’s Champions League.

However, reports have claimed that Arteta has made Partey one of his priority signings for the summer, while the Gunners are reportedly ready to trigger the midfielder’s €50 million (£42m) release clause and offer him a significant raise on his current salary.

Partey’s father has also claimed that Arsenal have made an approach ahead of the summer window.

But when asked if spending €50m on a midfielder is realistic for Arsenal in the current climate, Arteta replied: ‘Well the plans I had were not obviously considering the coronavirus and all the side effects that it has had.

‘We know what we have to do to improve the team, that’s for sure.

‘Whether we’re able to do it the way we want, that will be a different story.

‘But my focus right now is just to improve the team, get the results that we need to give us the best chance possible to get into Europe, convince the players that this is the right place for them and the right environment, and then work from there.’

Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone admitted that Partey has attracted interest from several clubs in Europe due to his excellent performances.

‘Thomas is the one who best understands this position and the transition from defence to attack, shooting, scoring, providing assists and playing passes between the lines,’ Simeone said.

‘When he’s at his best level consistently, he’s so good that all the best teams in Europe are looking at him.’

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