‘Everything that happens to the boys who gave me a lot makes me happy’: Atletico boss Diego Simeone only wishes ‘incredible’ Thomas Partey the best at Arsenal despite being fury over his £45m exit clause being met on deadline day
- Partey had spent eight years under Simeone after moving to the club in 2012
- Arsenal had pushed for a lower price for Partey before upping the offer late on
- Simeone was furious with his late exit but has now wished him well at Arsenal
Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has insisted he is happy for the ‘incredible’ Thomas Partey after he landed a deserved big-money move to Arsenal – despite initially being furious that his release clause was triggered just 32 minutes before the transfer deadline.
The Ghanaian, who is believed to be earning around £250,000-a-week at the Emirates, completed his £45million move to Arsenal at the 11th-hour on deadline day earlier this month after Mikel Arteta chased him throughout the summer.
Partey was a key figure for Simeone, who was angry that Arsenal had not informed Atletico about their plans to pay his release clause – though they did manage to replace him with Lucas Torreira heading in the opposite direction.
Thomas Partey completed a £45million move to Arsenal on deadline day earlier this month
Diego Simeone was furious with Arsenal triggering his release clause so late in the day
Despite Simeone’s frustrations at how Arsenal went about signing Partey – who he had reportedly held conversations with about playing alongside Torreira before his last-minute exit – the Atletico boss wishes him the best.
‘Everything that happens to the boys who gave me a lot of things at the club makes me happy,’ the former Argentina international said. ‘Thomas is a boy I remember from when he played in the B team with Saul [Niguez].
‘We started to bring him up, it took a lot out of him, he went to Almeria and it was difficult for him to find stability in the club. He’s an incredible player and we wish him the best.’
On signing Partey, Arteta was effusive in his praise of the 27-year-old: ‘We have been watching Thomas for a while, so we’re now delighted to add such a high-quality player to our squad.
‘He is a dynamic midfielder with great energy. He brings a lot of experience from a top club that has competed at the highest level in LaLiga and the Champions League for several years.
Atletico boss Simeone described Partey as ‘incredible’ and wished him all the best at Arsenal
Lucas Torreira has moved the opposite way to Partey after falling out of favour at the Emirates
‘We’re very impressed with his attitude and his approach to the game. He’s an intelligent footballer and we’re looking forward to him integrating into our system and contributing to the progress we’re building at the moment at the club.’
Simeone’s men, meanwhile, have made an indifferent start to the new campaign.
After thrashing Granada 6-1 on the opening day, they have posted successive goalless draws against Huesca and Villarreal. And Simeone has hinted he may unleash Luis Suarez, Joao Felix and Diego Costa when they travel to Celta Vigo on Saturday in a bid to get his attack firing again.
Luis Suarez may play in a front three with Joao Felix and Diego Costa on the weekend
‘Of course they can play together. Many of the players we have can play together. We’ll see at what moment, what situation and in what state each one is,’ Simeone said.
‘He [Felix] is a very important player for us. I saw the games he played with the national team and I liked his work.
‘He has talent and he can appear at any moment, but what I saw with Portugal, where he showed commitment, intention, enthusiasm for what the team needed – that speaks highly of him and it’s what we also need from him.’