Arsenal chose Thomas Partey over Boubakary Soumare this summer, opting for experience over gambling on a younger and cheaper alternative.
The Athletic report that Arsenal’s scouting department initially filed glowing reports on Lille midfielder Boubakary Soumare. However, they added that the player remained raw, and left it up to Arsenal’s executive committee to decide on him or Thomas Partey.
That committee includes Mikel Arteta, and they made the decision to opt for experience on this occasion. They preferred to bring in a player like Partey in the peak of his career rather than gambling on a young and less well-rounded alternative.
We know Arsenal were looking at Soumare for a while, with fairly persistent rumours linking the two in January. But in the end, it just wasn’t the right time to bring him in.
The club’s midfield was certainly looking a bit low on experience. There’s Mesut Özil, but he probably won’t even make the Premier League squad this season. Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny were the only other two over the age of 24.
Meanwhile, Partey is 27 and spent the last five seasons playing European football every year and domestic football in one of the continent’s top-five leagues.
We’ve seen the midfielder shine against Arsenal and Liverpool first hand. He’s faced Juventus, Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea, AS Roma, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Barcelona on major European nights. He won’t be phased by the big occasions.
As much as it looks like Soumare could be a big talent, you just can’t say the same for him.