3 Budget Arsenal Alternatives for the “Thomas Partey” Role

Arsenal, Thomas Partey (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images)
Arsenal, Thomas Partey (Photo by Xaume Olleros/Getty Images) /
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3. Lisandro Martinez – £25m

Lisandro Martínez Ajax
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – OCTOBER 23: Lisandro Martinez of Ajax (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images) /

Signed this past summer as a potential replacement for Matthias De Ligt, Lisandro Martinez cemented himself as a talented defensive midfielder at the Johan Cruyff Arena. Over 41 appearances, he played 22 at holding midfield, and 19 at centre-back, showing impressive versatility and flexibility.

On that basis alone, you might picture him a Declan-Rice style of player, skilled and talented at playing both positions, but primarily in a defensive capacity. And while it’s true, his defensive contributions are stellar, they don’t tell the whole story.

One of the reasons he made the move to holding midfield is because of his off-the-mark speed. The 22-year-old is rapid over short spaces, and he’s got the engine to be able to keep dashing for the full 90, a feat he achieved 35 out of the 41 matches he played last season.

His distribution is arguably his greatest asset, despite averaging 8.5 defensive contributions per game – he finished the season with 90% short-pass completion, and an average of 70 short passes and four accurate long balls per match. Those are exceptional statistics.

Pros of Signing Martinez

Physically, he’s a beast. Fast, technical, and with a surprising jumping range for a 5’10” player, he’s an all-action version of Lucas Torreira who also has a wicked passing range. He certainly doesn’t shy away from the physical side of the game, and he’s left-footed, something we could always use more in this team.

And he’s an attractive option in terms of technique as well. He’s an incisive dribbler, and is very skilled in breaking the press with the ball at his feet. He rarely panics, and tends to twist and turn to dislodge his mark, almost looking more like a winger at times. Arteta’s press-breaking is dependent on committing a man before you release the ball, something the player has no issue doing. His passing technique is solid too.

Cons of Signing Martinez

The physicality of the Premier League is always a big step up, and while Martinez has some serious cojones, he’s not quite as bulky as he needs to be to contend with English football. He’s certainly a durable player, but would need to step it up to a different level in England.

The other issue is that he can be rash in tackling. He loves a slide tackle, and while he typically wins them, he opens himself up for a lot of yellow cards. Furthermore, I’m not sure his 5’10” frame would be quite up to scratch, and while he’s a fair bit taller than Lucas Torreira, I can still see him encountering some problems.