New Arsenal signing Thomas Partey has revealed seeing the club hold on to captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang proved to him that they are serious about matching his ambitions.
Partey was a long-term target for Arsenal, who finally landed the Ghana international on transfer deadline day as they paid his release clause – reported to be £45million – to get him from Atletico Madrid.
Despite talks of the move being dead in the water as the end of the window neared, Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta remained confident they could get their man.
GOSSIP: Man United target two defenders; Rodon to Spurs
It followed a summer where the Gunners also added Brazil international Willian on a free transfer from Chelsea and signed defender Gabriel Magalhaes from Lille.
But tying Aubameyang down to a new three-year deal was seen as the best piece of business by the club – especially given the lack of Champions League football since the 31-year-old arrived from Borussia Dortmund in 2018.
Aubameyang was linked with a host of Europe’s top clubs before agreeing to fresh terms as he aims to become a “legend” at Arsenal.
It appears the deal also caught the eye of Partey, who believes it shows the right level of aspiration in the hunt to return the club to being genuine contenders for the Premier League title.
Asked if convincing Aubameyang to stay proved to Partey the club’s ambition was similar to his own, he replied: “Yes, it helps me understand that the club wants to achieve greater things and for me it is great to play alongside great players like him.
“This (winning the title) is our new objective. That’s the objective of the club, of me myself and I think that we have to get back to where we belong.
“It’s something that is difficult and we all know that it’s difficult, but we’re working towards it and I think we are ready. We have to go all out and try to achieve all of that ourselves.”
Partey could make his Arsenal debut in Saturday’s Premier League trip to Manchester City but, while he is excited by the challenge of the Premier League, he admits he needs to adjust to a new league and new team.
Asked about the prospect of facing Pep Guardiola’s side on his debut, he added: “Well, it’s the decision of Mikel.
“I just arrived. For me, I’m prepared but I need to get used to the style of play before I can play.
“I like to play in the big matches, but it all depends on the coach and whether he wants me to play on Saturday or not.
“It depends on him. I need to get used to the squad and then train with the squad before we can see what we will happen.
“I think there is no pressure on me. I like to challenge myself, I like new challenges and it’s all about learning fast, learning quickly how it goes and you just get used to it and everything works.”
Partey also explained his decision to have Thomas on the back of his shirt rather than Partey was a tribute to his parents’ religious belief.
But he may yet end up retaining the moniker ‘Octopus’ – which was bestowed upon him during his time on loan at Almeria.
“I always say, if I would be an animal, I would be an octopus,” he said of the reason he sports an octopus tattoo.
“I remember when I was in Almeria they called me the octopus because I stole a lot of balls (with his long legs).”