Where Arsenal’s seven central midfielders stand after Partey transfer

Arsenal eventually got the party started, and now the focus can shift towards just what Mikel Arteta is going to do with his midfield.

Thomas Partey completed his long-trailed £45million move from Atletico Madrid to north London on transfer deadline day when the Gunners agreed to pay his release clause, bringing in a top-class performer in an area where they needed improving.

The midfield he is joining can often be something of a muddled affair, with almost each and every Gunners central midfielder experiencing contrasting fortunes as they come in and out of the team under Arteta – just as many of them were under Unai Emery.

What will become of the club's midfielders now Partey has arrived?

We've taken a look at where they stand.

The exciting new one: Thomas Partey

So they got it done in the end then.

The deal for the Ghanaian midfielder went through late on transfer deadline day, causing mass celebration among the Gunners fans who weren't busy changing their social media avatars from pictures of Houssem Aouar.

Partey is an excellent signing, obviously, and a player who is a lot more technically gifted than he is often given credit for.

He could well be one of the first names on the teamsheet.

The one who came back from the dead: Mohamed Elneny

Be honest, you'd forgotten Elneny played for Arsenal before you saw him lining up for the Gunners in the opening games of this season hadn't you?

The Egyptian spent the last campaign on loan at Besiktas as he was out of sight, out of mind, and while his selection at the start of the campaign might have been a message from Arteta to the board to get a midfield deal done, he certainly didn't disgrace himself.

He is the one who stands to lose out the most from Partey's arrival, but he'll still get some games.

The one you want to commit to: Dani Ceballos

Back for a second season on loan, the Spanish midfielder brings more than a dash of creativity to the Gunners side as he has embraced his role under Arteta.

Playing in a deeper role than many thought he was bought for, his displays in the latter half of last season were excellent and he has a strong case to be included in his manager's best XI.

Playing alongside Partey could suit him, and another impressive season might just lead to a permanent switch.

The one who refuses to go away: Granit Xhaka

From being cast aside as captain and almost cast out of the club, Xhaka is still there and still fighting.

It is clear that Arteta values the Swiss midfielder and perhaps even sees the personal journey he's been on at Arsenal as something of a positive, but with higher quality midfielders now at the club it will be interesting to see just how often the former skipper is relied upon.

For the first time in a long time it is difficult to say that he gets in the Gunners' best XI, something that probably needs to be the case if they want to keep getting better.

His status in the squad will be something to keep an eye on for now.

The one who always has to be patient: Joe Willock

At the age of 21, Willock has a hugely impressive 64 appearances under his belt for the Arsenal first-team, but almost exactly half of those (33) are in the Premier League.

Getting minutes in that bread and butter competition has always been the challenge for him, but with another hectic Europa League programme on the horizon then he seems set to reprise his usual role as a cup specialist.

That's fine for now, and at his age, but you have to wonder how much longer that will go on for.

The one who had to be sacrificed: Lucas Torreira

In his two years as an Arsenal player, the diminutive Uruguayan has gone from the combative answer to all of the club's midfield problems to a player who could be cast aside to make room for new ones.

Could the Gunners have kept him? Maybe, but there was clearly something in him that Arteta just wasn't having, and his loan move to Atletico Madrid can certainly be filed under 'best for everyone involved' now it has been completed.

With Diego Simeone as his manager and a spot vacant in central midfield, he could well excel and never return to the Emirates.

The one who needs to learn: Matteo Guendouzi

Unlike with Torreira, there isn't really a strong whiff of Guendouzi's loan move to Hertha Berlin being turned into a permanent deal.

That's partly because of the status and finances of the loaning club – Hertha made this exact move with Liverpool's Marko Grujic in each of the past two years – but also because the player himself is probably going to treat this as a temporary release.

The Frenchman is still young enough and combative enough to make his way back at his parent club, and a change of attitude would certainly impress his manager too.

He could return next summer to an Arsenal side less loaded with midfielders, and then he'll need to take his chance.

Will Thomas Partey be a success at Arsenal? Have your say here.

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