Thomas Partey's journey from poverty-stricken childhood to Arsenal's midfield


Thomas Partey has taken a remarkable journey from a poverty-stricken childhood in Ghana to becoming one of Europe’s top midfielders.

His dad Jacob even sold his own possessions to pay for a visa for his son to travel to Spain for a trial with Atletico Madrid in 2011 on his first steps to becoming a footballing hero.

Partey, 27, has now signed a four-year deal with Arsenal worth just under £200,000-a-week after a deadline day move to the Emirates and the chance to fulfil a dream of playing in the Premier League.

He has been given the No.18 shirt and the omens must be good because he has asked for Thomas to be printed on his shirt rather than his surname, bringing back memories of 1989 title winning hero Michael Thomas.

That seemed like a long time ago when he grew up in a town called Krobo Odumase.

Arsenal new boy Thomas Partey

He was one of eight siblings and his mum was a petty trader to make ends meet and his dad ran a football team.

He played football with his brother Frances, insists he was not even the best player in the team but his parents could see his talent and he signed up with an agent.

Partey needed to get to Europe.

Yet they struggled to scrape enough money together to pay for the trip and the visa until his dad sold his own possessions.

Partey later revealed: “He made a big effort and he sold things in order to get my papers and to buy me boots.

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Partey had a tricky childhood

“He had helped me since I was small as without boots you could not play. He also helped a lot for the team from my neighbourhood and I remember we brought food.”

Partey worked his way up through the club, graduating from the B team, being farmed out on loan until becoming a regular at Atletico in 2015.

Arsenal actually sent scouts four years ago to check on him, the reports were glowing but they passed up on signing him – until this transfer window.

Arsenal manager Arteta has wanted No.1 midfield target Thomas Partey from day one as he ticks so many boxes and also allows him to switch to a 4-3-3 system which, moving forward, may be his preferred option.

Mikel Arteta’s Gunners have been starved of title glory for a while now – but things could be changing as a new-look Arsenal side plot a course to success.

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New signings Willian and Gabriel Magalhaes both hit the ground running against Fulham but Mikel Arteta is still on the lookout for new signings. Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar and Brentford keeper David Raya are two of the names on their radar.

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Partey with Granit Xhala and Dani Ceballos make up a strong midfield trio which provides more protection for the defence but also creativity for the forwards.

Arteta identified Partey as his primary summer target with the club knowing that if they could not get Atletico Madrid to negotiate then they had the fall back option of triggering his buy-out clause which they did and got the deal done with half an hour to spare.

It has been a big window in signing Willian on a free, Brazilian defender Gabriel and also the new contract for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

The club have backed Arteta to the hilt because they believe he is on the right path – and the drama of the final day maintains the excitement among the fans.





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