Arsenal could finally ditch Partey by sealing club record £110m transfer

Arsenal might be the club who most needed the Premier League’s winter break as, following Christmas Day, they fell from first to fourth in the league and crashed out of the FA Cup to boot.

While this poor run of form could be fairly blamed on the Gunners frontline – one goal in three games is unforgivable – the entire team has looked underwhelming.

Mikel Arteta is clearly aware of this, as the latest player touted for a move to N5 is not a striker but a midfielder, and they could form a brilliant partnership with Declan Rice while allowing the club to move on from the talented but incredibly injury-prone Thomas Partey.


Arsenal look to former Manchester City youngster

According to a report from Football Transfers last month, Arsenal have maintained their interest in Aston Villa’s star midfielder, Douglas Luiz, and as they have done ‘in previous transfer windows’ will push for his signature this month.

That said, according to recent report from Football Insider this week – who suggests Arsenal are long-term admirers of the player – they will now have to contend with other interested parties, such as Liverpool.

Football Transfers revealed that Villa value the former Manchester City youth product at around £110m – more than the club-record £105m Arsenal paid for Rice – although they might accept an offer closer to £80m should Luiz push for a move.


It would be an undeniably pricey deal to complete for the Gunners, but Luiz could form a brilliant partnership with Rice, and his arrival would allow the team to move on from Partey.

How Douglas Luiz compares to Thomas Partey

Now, both Luiz and Partey are excellent footballers, and when fit, both would likely make superb midfield partners for Rice, but therein lies the problem for Partey; he never seems to be fit anymore.

The Ghanaian international has, at points, been one of Arsenal’s best players in recent years, with GOAL’s Charlie Watts ranking him as the team’s third most important player last season. However, he has never been able to remain fit for an entire season in north London, missing a whopping 64 games – and counting – for club and country since joining in 2020.

In contrast, Luiz has missed no games through injury in the same period and has missed just seven in his entire career. If Rice is expected to build a footballing rapport and chemistry with his midfield partners, he needs to be playing with them regularly.

That said, if injuries weren’t a concern, which player would be a better option? Well, by looking at the pair’s underlying numbers (Partey’s are from last season), it becomes clearer still that the correct way forward for Arteta and Arsenal involves Luiz.

For example, the “unreal” Brazilian, as described by Arsenal Fan TV’s James Bayliss, is far more of an attacking threat, producing a higher non-penalty expected goal and assists figure, registering more than double the number of shots on target per 90, making more shot-creating actions per 90 and completing more progressive carries as well.

Douglas Luiz vs Thomas Partey

Stats per 90



Non-Penalty Expected Goals + Assists



Progressive Carries



Progressive Passes



Shots on Target



Shot-Creating Actions



Percentage of tackles won









Aerial Duels Won



All Stats via FBref for the 2022/23 & 2023/24 Domestic Season

In contrast, the Ghanaian does produce significantly more progressive passes per 90 and wins more aerial duels than his competition, but if Luiz had Rice behind him in the six, this would be less of an issue.


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Ultimately, while Partey and Rice would be a great partnership for Arsenal, availability is the best ability, or so they say, and the former Atlético man is just not reliable enough to be a mainstay in a title-chasing midfield.

Furthermore, Luiz outshines the 30-year-old in many vital metrics anyway, so Arsenal should be doing all they can to sign the Brazilian this month and create a midfield partnership that could win the league.

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