Mikel Arteta and his technical staff at Arsenal want to gradually move to a 4-3-3 system following the arrival of Thomas Partey from Atletico Madrid, according to a report.
Arteta’s men have won three of their first four matches in the Premier League this season, with their only loss coming against defending champions Liverpool.
There is a lot of positivity surrounding Arsenal now with Arteta bringing back a feel-good factor to the Gunners and they only strengthened their ranks in the summer transfer window.
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The Gunners brought in Willian, Gabriel Magalhaes and Partey, while they re-signed Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid and Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares made their loan deals permanent.
Partey was their biggest signing of the transfer window, joining from Atletico Madrid for £45m to add a new dimension to Arteta’s central midfield.
And The Athletic has said that Arsenal held a ‘series of clandestine meetings’ with Partey as far back as the 2018-19 season as the Ghana international outlined his preferred position and started to consider a move to the Emirates Stadium.
The 27-year-old told the Gunners’ former head of international scouting, Francis Cagigao, that ‘his preference is to operate as one of a pair of deep-lying midfielders, but he can also play at the base alone’.
Partey told Cagigao that he could ‘envisage playing in tandem’ with Granit Xhaka, while he wanted more ‘self-expression’ that he wasn’t afforded by Diego Simeone.
He ‘ticks all the boxes of Arteta’s specifications for a screening No 6. Partey is now the primary option for that position’ with Arteta hoping to eventually be able to alter his formation.
The Athletic article adds that Arteta and his ‘technical staff still envision the team ultimately developing into a 4-3-3 system, akin to the one adopted by Liverpool and Manchester City’.
The addition of Partey ‘can provide the security and strength through the spine that could enable Arteta to move away from the back three’.
After pinning down Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to a new contract and bringing Gabriel to the club, a ‘spine is emerging’ at Arsenal.