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Unai Emery will be fuming with Arsenal board as Gunners close in on star he wanted in 2018

Arsenal are closing in on the signing of Thomas Partey – which is set to leave former boss Unai Emery frustrated. Arsenal have reportedly indicated to Atletico Madrid that they will pay Partey’s £45million release clause. The Gunners have been linked with a move for the Ghana international throughout the summer transfer window.

However, it appears it is not the first time Arsenal have been interested in Partey.

The Athletic claim Arsenal wanted to sign the midfielder in Emery’s first transfer window in charge in 2018.

The Gunners instead signed Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria and Matteo Guendouzi from Lorient – two players who are finalising loan moves away from the Emirates today.

Emery put his faith in Guendouzi as a teenager and played him far more than he expected in his first campaign at the club.

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But the Frenchman has fallen out of favour under Mikel Arteta and has not featured in a match day squad since his bust-up with Brighton’s Neal Maupay in the 2-1 loss at the Amex in June.

Torreira, meanwhile, became a fan favourite as a defensive midfielder under Emery in his first season.

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However, he also saw himself on the sidelines under Arteta and is set to move in the opposite direction to Partey on loan.

But perhaps things could have been different for Emery if he signed Partey instead two years ago.

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At 27, Partey has proven his quality over a number of years in Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid side.

He will add strength and power to the Arsenal midfield – something that has been lacking for many years.

The departures of Torreira and Guendouzi would have left Mikel Arteta with just four central midfielders in his squad, so bringing in Partey makes complete sense.

He is not the only midfielder Arteta has targeted, with Lyon star Houssem Aouar said to be his preferred option.

However, a deal for the more creative Aouar looks to be dead after he confirmed at the weekend he would be staying at Lyon.

Chelsea star Jorginho is also linked with the Gunners but the Blues are unlikely to sanction his exit after starting three of the first four Premier League games of the season.

So Partey appears to be the chosen one, which will leave Emery scratching his head.

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