Arsenal will still look to sign Thomas Partey even if they don’t qualify for the Champions League, but they may have to convince Atletico Madrid with a swap deal.

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Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey (L) celebrates with Angel Correa after scoring on February 14, 2020. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

Charles Watts of Goal reports that Arsenal want to sign Thomas Partey, and they know it will be far easier to do the deal with Champions League football. However, they’ll still look to complete the transfer even if they fail to make the top four (or five).

At that point, the move would rely on convincing Atletico to do a swap deal. Watts mentions Diego Simeone’s interest in Alexandre Lacazette as a possible makeweight in the move.

Atletico are aware of Arsenal’s interest, pushing Partey to sign a contract extension as a result. The player is stalling on the deal and waiting to see how the summer window plays out.

It’s clear that Arsenal’s best shot is still making the Champions League and paying Partey’s clause. That’s the only way they can nullify any opposition from the player’s current club. Given Simeone rates Partey highly, any other deal will be difficult.

Still, it’s nice to hear Arsenal are at least going to try for Partey if the league campaign doesn’t go to plan. It makes the rumours of interest sound a little more genuine and less like a hypothetical transfer in an alternate universe where the club have more money.