Ghana midfielder has never been one to take the easy route and his arrival means that Arteta’s spine now has a formidable look

Thomas Partey’s capacity to surprise should never have been in doubt. It was 2011 when, as a young midfielder playing in Ghana for second-tier side Tema Youth, he held his breath and took the kind of gamble many young African footballers make in search of a career.

He had been offered a trial in Spain; the details were scant although his father, a football coach, had sold some of his own belongings to afford the documents for any move. Eventually Partey was driven to Accra, his home country’s capital, handed a passport and told it was time to fly. “Nobody from my family knew anything, nor that I was going that day because if they were told then it would cause a lot of problems,” he said later. “I decided to travel without saying anything to anyone.”

Related: Transfer window verdict: how every Premier League club fared

Continue reading...