Gilberto Silva: What I really think about Thomas Partey at Arsenal

Gilberto Silva believes that Thomas Partey can develop into a key player in Arsenal's midfield

Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey (Photo: Adidas)

Gilberto Silva believes that Thomas Partey can develop into a key player for Arsenal in midfield if he can stay injury free.

The Ghana international has endured something of a stop-start beginning to his Arsenal career since his signed for the Gunners from Atletico Madrid in the summer transfer window last year.

The 28-year-old midfielder struggled with a number of niggling injury issues and was limited to 18 starts in the Premier League for the Gunners last term.

Partey missed the opening stages of this season due to an ankle ligament injury suffered during pre-season with the north London side, but he will now be hoping to stay free of fitness problems as he targets a regular run in the team.

The midfielder played the full 90 minutes as Arsenal claimed a 3-1 win over Tottenham in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon.

Gilberto formed a famous partnership alongside Patrick Vieira in Arsenal’s midfield under Arsene Wenger, and the pair helped the Gunners to win the league without losing a game back in 2003-04.

The former Brazil international has now delivered his thoughts on Partey and whether or not he thinks that the Ghana international can be the solution to Arsenal’s midfield woes.

Speaking in an interview with Goal before Sunday’s north London derby, Gilberto, 44, said: “Everyone knows how important he can be for the team.

“Having this calibre of player is always good for the players because they trust him, especially in that position where many things are decided.

“I hope that he is going to be 100 per cent fit to play 90/95 minutes and help the team. This is what we expect from big players. In this kind of game [the north London derby], they increase their level of quality to push others.

“He is somebody who makes a difference on the field. This is what we expect from a player like Partey.”

Asked about comparing Partey to himself or Vieira, Gilberto replied: “Obviously he has quality but it’s hard when you compare someone.

“He has his type of game and me and Patrick had the way we played. The partnership between us worked fantastically and for you to play well, sometimes you need somebody on your side on the same level to raise your game.

“At that time it was not only me and Patrick. We had players around us who gave us the support to increase the level of our games. This is the difference.

“Partey is an important player, he has the possibility to grow even more. But it’s important that the other players come with him, improve their level, the way they play and build up this strong, winning mentality.”

Arsenal are back in Premier League action next weekend when they travel to face Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday night.

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