Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta handed Thomas Partey transfer problem amid Europa League battle

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta faces a problem if he wants to bring Thomas Partey to the Emirates – he first must offload several players in the transfer window. Partey is the Spaniard’s top target heading into the summer market, having identified the Ghanaian as the man to significantly improve Arsenal’s midfield.

The 27-year-old destroyer has yet to pen a new contract with Atletico Madrid, despite Los Rojiblancos willing to double his wages.

Reports from Partey’s homeland have suggested the player will now snub a move to the Emirates to stay in Madrid.

But it remains to be seen whether that speculation turns out to be true, with Arsenal’s hopes of signing the box-to-box midfielder not yet dead.

Yet if Arteta is to bring Partey to north London then according to the Daily Mirror he must first sell players to free up funds.

That will be easier said than done after the coronavirus pandemic, which is likely to see teams prioritise low-coast deals and swaps and free transfers.

Arteta admitted his concern about the upcoming transfer window after Arsenal beat Liverpool in the Premier League on Wednesday night, highlighting the “enormous” gap between the two teams despite their 2-1 win.

He said to Sky Sports: “I don’t know [how much money I will have to spend]. It’s a big concern because you just have to see how they build those squads and there’s no magic.

“You need to improve with quality, quality players to the squad and you need bigger squads to compete in this competition. That is the challenge.”

The Arsenal manager added in his post-match press conference: “[Closing the gap] depends on the context, depends on the resources, depends on how much you have to change.

“We are in a process, we don’t know at the moment. There is a lot of uncertainty in many areas.

“What we can control now is who we want to be as a team, the culture we are building in order to do that, the spirit to be successful and then improve our players.

“My main focus is to make our players better, make them feel more comfortable and create an identity for the club because it will be easier to say we need this, this and this.

“I think it’s pretty clear that we need to strengthen the squad.”

And the Mirror add that if Arsenal fail to qualify for next season’s Europa League, they will miss out on around £30million in revenue.

That is a significant loss for Arsenal in their current financial situation, with their reserves strained as a result of last summer’s spending and a continued absence of Champions League football.

It puts extra pressure on Arteta to lead his team either to a top-seven finish or to FA Cup success, with a semi-final clash with Manchester City on the horizon this weekend.

Even if the Londoners do ensure their run of European football continues – having not had a season without playing in Europe since 1995-96 – then they still must sell players.

Cash from sales will also be used for new contracts, however, with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s future at the club still up in the air.

Arteta is optimistic of keeping the 23-goal Gabon international, who is out of contract in the summer of 2021, but no extension has yet been penned.

No money from the club’s owners, the Kroenke family, is expected to be made available, the Mirror claim.

Arsenal have already tied Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares to permanent contracts after the pair initially joined on loan from Flamengo and Southampton in January.

Right-back Cedric was snapped up for free after his contract with the Saints expired while centre-half Mari’s total fee is thought to have set Arsenal back around £14million.

They also handed new long-term deals to promising teenage pair Bukayo Saka and Gabriel Martinelli earlier this month.

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