Thomas Partey
Thomas Partey

John Paintsil: Thomas Partey must choose next club for playing time 

Former Black Stars defender, John Paintsil, has advised Thomas Partey to choose a club that he will be very comfortable playing for, in deciding his next destination after reportedly requesting a transfer to leave Arsenal.

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According to reports in England, Arsenal are ready to sell the midfielder after the club's manager Mikel Arteta reluctantly agreed to his request to leave, with the player attracting interest from Italian Serie A side, Juventus, as well as a club from Saudi Arabia side, which is said to be ready to offer a lucrative deal for the services of the 30-year-old.

While a move to Saudi Arabia looks more probable, Paintsil told the Graphic Sports that the Arsenal midfield enforcer must follow his heart and make sure he chose a club that would give him enough playing time. He stressed the importance of being ready for national team call-ups and suggested that Partey's decision should focus on securing playing time for both his club and the national team.

Paintsil, now retired, emphasised that Partey held the ultimate decision, despite offers presented by agents and advised the Arsenal star to engage in deep introspection and choose a club where he would feel comfortable and receive ample playing time, as he personally experienced the consequences of limited playing time during his career.

"Football is business, it’s not just playing for fun and as a player, you should know whether where you are going to play would guarantee you enough playing time.

“Especially, as a national team asset, you always need to be ready for the national call-up as well. So, if going to Juventus will help him get enough playing time to be ready or going to Saudi to get enough playing time to play for the national team, the decision lies on the player," said Paintsil, who played for English Premiership sides Fulham, West Ham United and Leicester City between 2006 and 2012.

Paintsil, who made 89 appearances for Ghana, highlighted the significance of regular playing time in maintaining top form and readiness for national team duties. He advised Partey to consider his happiness and follow his instincts in making the right decision for his career.

Paintsil emphasised that joining a Saudi Arabian club would not hinder Partey's prospects of playing for the national team.

Partey, said to be the highest earner at the London club with wages in excess of £200,000 a week, is reportedly very close to exiting Arsenal as the team pursue big summer transfers for midfielders Declan Rice from West Ham and Kai Havertz from Chelsea.

During the 2022-23 season, Partey and Xhaka formed a crucial midfield combination for Arteta, operating behind attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard to provide stability.

However, the club's pursuit of Rice as a holding midfielder, alongside Odegaard and Havertz, could potentially push Partey down the pecking order in Arteta's plans to strengthen the team for another Premier League title challenge, after allowing Manchester City to claim the title with two matches remaining.

Last week it was reported that Partey's agents had agreed personal terms with Juventus. However, the Italian giants appeared to have cooled their interest in the Ghanaian star after the club's French midfielder Adrien Rabiot agreed to extend his stay.

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