Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is unsure when Partey will return to full fitness and says the Ghanaian midfielder is devastated.
The 27-year-old suffered an injury in the last 15 minutes of Arsenal’s 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park and was substituted for Willian. The injury was initially believed to be minor but scans later showed that it was worse than expected. The former Atletico Madrid man picked up a muscular injury which is believed to be a hamstring strain.
This is the third time he has picked up an injury since signing for the Gunners last summer from Atletico Madrid for £45 million. His debut season has been heavily interrupted by injuries and he has not been able to play as regularly as expected.
The Ghana international is already an important part of the team due to the quality he adds to the side in the middle of the park but the North London club have not been able to rely on him due to his fitness issues.
This season, the 27-year-old has provided one assist in 16 appearances across all competitions. The player had an impeccable track record when it came to injuries during his time in Spain and so his fitness issues this season come as even more of a surprise.
“It is a difficult one, he felt something during the game and we didn’t think it was too bad but after the scan looked a little bit worse. He won’t be available to play against Leeds and we will see how it evolves in the next two days but it is a muscular issue.”
On how frustrating it is for the Ghana international, Arteta said:
“He was devastated, we were all devastated because we know the importance of Thomas and we haven’t had him since we signed him, we haven’t had him in three games consecutively.”
“I think he has only played 90 minutes once since he has come back from injury, so it is a big blow for us but he is adapting to the league, he has been very unlucky as well and he is very frustrated because he is a very competitive guy who wants to feel important and be important for the team and at the moment the injuries are restricting a lot of game time for him.”
“He came here from a different league and physically it’s much more demanding than the Spanish league. He got injured, he wanted to get back, he got back and then he got injured again, so his rhythm has been in and out.”
“He hasn’t had a pre-season and he hasn’t had the type of that is needed for such a change. Then it’s probably anxiety from being so willing to do well and to feel important because he’s a big signing. All those things add up and he broke down again, so we have to be patient now and he needs to recover properly because he’s going to be key for us.”
There is no doubt that Partey will be a massive player for the Gunners in the years to come. This season, the rate at which players across Europe are succumbing to injury is much greater than in past years. The North London side have a world-class midfielder on their hands and the thought of seeing him play regularly for Arsenal on his return to fitness is very exciting.