MIKEL ARTETA has urged Thomas Partey to step up and show just why Arsenal put so much effort into signing him.
The Ghanaian midfielder was supposed to be a game changer when he was poached from Atletico Madrid for £45million last summer.
Mikel Arteta has urged £45million Thomas Partey to step upCredit: Tom Jenkins-The Guardian
But that is not quite how things have worked out so far for the 27-year-old.
And now Arsenal supporters are starting to wonder just what all the fuss was about after watching their team continue to struggle in the middle of the park.
Partey’s cause has not been helped by a frustrating run of niggling injuries which have prevented him from putting a consistent run of games together.
But Arteta said: “Hopefully we will see the best version of Thomas at Sheffield United on Sunday and against Slavia Prague next week.
“Now that he has got a sequence of two or three games I think we’ll see him finishing the season in a really strong way.
“It’s very difficult to make a proper assessment of Thomas’ performances so far because he has missed six months and that is a long time.
“He is still adapting to our way of playing, which is different to what he did at Atletico, but he we can all see what he brings to the team.
“It’s about him finding the level of consistency that we need from him because he has the capacity that we can build a team that can play around him.
“The biggest difficulty he has had so far is that he has not been fit. Then every time he recovered, he missed the next game.
“He has not had time to prepare himself physically to play at the highest level and that has obviously had an impact because the Premier League demands real fitness.”
With just three wins in their last ten Prem games, Arsenal need Partey to be firing on all cylinders against bottom of the table Sheffield United tomorrow.
Arteta said: “Sheffield United will give what they do every week, which is a big commitment and a big fight in spite of their position.
“The club we represent has high demands and the minimum we can ask for is everyone to work hard to deliver the goals that are expected from us.
“There are some really good examples of teams that were rebuilding and were helped in the project by being out of Europe.
“But I would rather be in Europe every year and I still want to qualify through our League position and also win the Europa League.”