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Who is Thomas Partey? The €50m man linked with a host of top European clubs

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One to watch this summer...

This summer looks like it's going to break all kinds of records in terms of spending with a number of European elite clubs in desperate need of re-enforcements for the upcoming season.

We've already seen a few transfer sagas begin despite the international window not opening until June, one of which surrounds the future of Atletico Madrid man Thomas Partey.

The Ghanian may not be known to many fans in England but the 25 year-old has steadily built a name for himself over in La Liga, impressing under Diego Simeone.

He played a starring role in their Europa League & Super Cup success last year and has emerged as one of Europe's finest holding midfielders. Atletico have a reputation for being one of the most robust, hard to beat sides around and it's shown by them conceding the least goals (29) in La Liga once again this season.

Thomas Partey Atletico Madrid

Partey is an important figure in that statistic and it's no coincidence that there's so much interest in his services, especially with rumours of his €50m release clause being confirmed by his agent.

He's been on the books of Atletico since 2012 and the indications given by both himself and his agent imply that he's ready to move on and test himself in a new league, with the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Inter Milan strongly linked with a transfer.

But just how good is this guy? We've profiled the Ghana international and looked at what he can bring to his potential new club.

A man in demand

Finding a disciplined, efficient and effective anchorman is one of the hardest tasks for the modern day manager. Shielding and protecting a defence used to be seen as a two man job back when 4-2-3-1 the system that was used regularly by managers, but now with many teams opting for a 4-3-3 it is often left down to one man.

Pulling off this role single handedly is very difficult but when done effectively, it allows the full-backs and other central midfielders to bomb on and get forward. So the demand for these specialists are very high.

You see the likes of N'Golo Kante, Casemiro and Fabinho really excel in this position but one man who goes under the radar slightly is Thomas Partey - who is quietly growing into one of the best in this position.

The Ghana international has spent the majority of his playing career at Atletico Madrid where under the guidance of Diego Simeone, he's become a vital cog in European footballs meanest defence.

Diego Simeone
Diego Simeone has developed Atletico Madrid's defence into arguably the best in the world

Simeone prides his side on hard work and defensive solidity, which has led to Partey growing season-on-season. His physicality, aggression and determination make him one of the best in his position and he looks like a perfect fit for the Premier League.

Usually a player like this would cost a huge amount of money but his €50m release clause (£43m) looks very affordable for the sides credited with an interest in him. Both Manchester clubs along with Inter Milan are set to be monitoring his situation closely and could be tempted to make a move, which is bad news for Atletico.

Simeone has already lost two of his defensive rocks in Diego Godin and Lucas Hernandez, whilst Rodri and Antoine Griezmann are also expected to move on. So he'll be keen to retain Partey at all costs but if his release clause is met then he has to grant him permission to speak to other clubs.

Defensive Rock

Since breaking into the Atletico first team back in the 2015/16 he's played a starring role in all things positive defensively.

In each season Atletico have had the meanest defence, which includes conceding just 18 goals in 38 games in the 2015/16 campaign - a staggering record. So a team like Manchester United who've just shipped in 53 goals would be desperate to add a player of his quality to their ranks.

The Red Devils have Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay on the books who play that role but following the news of Ander Herrera's departure, they need new blood in there and he'd fit the bill perfectly. United are expected to spend heavily this summer but they're likely to face strong competition from Inter following some interesting quotes made by Partey's representative Daniel Jimenez Pozanco.

“Inter are a top club and he is better than Paul Pogba. There is no reason why he won’t move to Italy. Inter, like Atleti are a top team” Pozanco told FcInterNews.

“He has a €50m release clause and in football anything is possible, just look at Diego Godin leaving to join Inter and Antoine Griezmann possibly on his way to Barcelona.”

Thomas Partey Atletico Madrid
Thomas looks like he could be set to follow teammate Griezmann out the Wanda Metropolitano exit door

This will be music to the ears of Inter fans but not so much for United and in particular Pogba, with Pozanco launching a scathing attack on the Red Devils midfielder.

"He is like Pogba, he’s a box to box player, but he is better than the Frenchman, as he does more defensive work. I feel that because he is African, he gets much less media coverage than the Manchester United player."

All very interesting and if Mr Pozanco is always this vocal then we're definitely going to be in for one exciting summer. Should Partey move to Old Trafford and link up with Pogba it would be interesting to see how they both fare, no pressure...