At 26-years-old and playing for one of the giants of Spanish football, Thomas Partey has become a household name among European and African soccer fans.
The defensive midfielder already boasts eight goals and two assists in 24 games for Ghana, but he continues to prove his worth at the domestic level by becoming one of manager Diego Simeone’s go-to central midfielders.
Playing alongside Koke and Saul Niguez as part of Simeone’s trusted midfield trio, Thomas has been instrumental in making Atletico Madrid the best defensive team in the 2019/20 La Liga season so far.
The Ghanaian and two Spaniards guard the backline and move the play forward, making key interceptions and big tackles throughout, with Thomas boasting the third-highest pass percentage in the team at 85.2% by the 13-game mark.
Over the summer, many top-class, big-money clubs were said to be interested in signing Thomas, but Atletico managed to keep a hold of their coveted midfielder.
However, once he has faced South Africa and Sao Tome and Principe with the Black Stars, the testing fixtures with Atletico may work to reignite interest in Thomas for Europe’s upcoming January transfer window.
A crucial schedule for Atletico and Thomas
While Thomas Partey and Saul Niguez are suspended for their next La Liga fixture – against the 8th-placed Granada – for picking up five bookings, they shall be allowed to face Juventus on November 26, Barcelona on December 1, and Villarreal on December 8.
Thomas’ play in the middle of the park is key to Atletico’s almighty defensive structure, with his performance in the 0-0 draw with Real Madrid showcasing how important the Ghanaian is to the team.
Juventus boast the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala going forward, with Miralem Pjanic feeding from midfield, so Thomas will need to be on top of his game.
A victory for Atletico in Turin would see them go level on points with Juventus with one group game left in the Champions League.
Then, Atletico welcome the La Liga-leading Barcelona. With 33 goals in 12 games, the Catalan club will be Atletico’s biggest test.
Despite being a mere point ahead of Atletico going into the November international break, Barcelona is at -227 to win the league with Atletico back at +2000 in the sports betting – showing how strong the Barcelona squad is by comparison.
However, a top performance from Thomas would go a long way towards Los Rojiblancos pulling off a surprise triumph.
Ghana’s key midfielder has proven that he flourishes on the big occasions, and doing so again will only increase the interest from other clubs over the winter.
Thomas will also battle with the high-scoring Villarreal, contend in a potentially crucial Champions League match-up with Lokomotiv Moscow, face the 10th-placed CA Osasuna, and travel to face Real Betis before the transfer window opens.
A window to further prove his worth
Diego Simeone has already shown how much he values Thomas Partey, but now it’s up to the club to show their commitment to the African star.
Los Rojiblancos have been reportedly trying to get Thomas to sign a new deal which increases his release clause of €50 million ($55.1 million), but a deal is yet to be made official.
Given the consistency of his performances so far, Thomas and his camp could easily use the upcoming slate of games as a platform to showcase how much the Ghanaian is worth, hoping to increase the wages offered in a new contract at Wanda Metropolitano.
In equal measure, he could also increase his appeal to the other interested clubs, perhaps hoping that one activates his current low release clause – by comparison to his transfer value – and offers him a huge wage packet.
With the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, and, controversially, Real Madrid said to be interested, it’s very possible that Thomas Partey’s performances against some of the biggest clubs in the world over the coming months could persuade one of them to trigger the release clause this January.