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Mikel Arteta feels the return to fitness of Thomas Partey will be the equivalent of a new signing for Arsenal.
The Ghana midfielder was Arsenal’s big signing of the previous transfer window from Atletico Madrid, but he has made only a handful of appearances on account of injury.
Partey returned from a month on the sidelines to feature in the north London derby with Tottenham on December 6 but broke down again with a recurrence of the thigh problem.
Arsenal is nursing him back to fitness, but he is now in training and could feature against Newcastle in the FA Cup on January 9.
Arteta says Partey has to come through a couple of additional sessions before being given the green light, but the Spaniard feels it will be like having a new signing in the team.
“We are in January and I think he’s played two and a half games,” Arteta said of Partey during a press conference following the 4-0 win over West Brom on Saturday. “That’s all and he was our main signing.
“We’ve been missing him. He brings something different to the team, he’s a player with enormous talent. But as well someone that can transform the team the way we want.
“It’s great if we can have him, keep him healthy and I think he will contribute in a really positive way.
“He’s done the most part training the last few days. He’s feeling good and we will assess him.
“He needs another two or three good sessions to see if he’s 100 per cent ok to play. And if that’s the case, great news for us.”
The Gunners were impressive in beating West Brom 4-0, their third win on the spin, and Arteta feels Arsenal are starting to produce the type of football he wants to see.
“There were moments that I think we were really, really good,” Arteta said. “Both defensively and offensively.
“Obviously in attacking phases we had moments where it’s exactly what I want, it’s exactly what we tried to train and teach the players to do. And in other moments we became a little bit sloppy.
“In certain moments where we thought the game was won, which is something that we have to improve. But in general, it’s close to what we want.”
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