Arsenal were ready to activate the €50m release clause of Thomas Partey before the coronavirus pandemic, which is why he’s stalling on an extension with Atletico Madrid.

BARCELONA, SPAIN: Thomas Partey of Atletico Madrid plays the ball under pressure on March 01, 2020. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

AS report that Arsenal hold the strongest interest in signing Thomas Partey this summer. Mikel Arteta likes the player, and the Gunners were willing to pay his €50m release clause before the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Partey is stalling on Atletico’s offer of a contract extension. Some days he seems close, but others he doesn’t, according to AS. Simeone sees the player as an irreplaceable part of his side.

For now, Partey is focusing on completing the season with Atletico. The return of La Liga is edging closer, and they have a Champions League place to chase. Presumably, they’ll also play their Champions League quarter-final at some point, whenever that is.

The longer he stalls on an extension, the better for Arsenal. There’s little-to-no chance the Gunners can pay his release clause right now, but if he holds out for long enough, it’s possible. Atletico will increase the clause with the new deal they’re offering.