Mikel Arteta has cast some doubt over Arsenal's pursuit of Thomas Partey, saying the Gunners may need to adapt their summer transfer plans.
Reports claim that the Atletico Madrid midfielder is one of Arteta’s priority signings this summer, with the Gunners said to be ready to trigger the midfielder’s €50million (£42m) release clause, and offer him a significantly higher salary in North London.
Partey’s father has also been quoted as saying that Arsenal have made an approach for his son ahead of the opening of the transfer window.
But with the coronavirus pandemic hitting finances hard across Europe, clubs could find themselves reining in their spending.
And Arsenal could find their plans further restricted if they fail qualify for next season’s Champions League, with Arteta admitting they may have to reconsider some things.
“Well the plans I had were not obviously considering the coronavirus and all the side effects that it has had,” Arteta said.
“We know what we have to do to improve the team, that’s for sure.
“Whether we’re able to do it the way we want, that will be a different story.
“But my focus right now is just to improve the team, get the results that we need to give us the best chance possible to get into Europe, convince the players that this is the right place for them and the right environment, and then work from there.”
Arteta’s admission comes after Atletico boss Diego Simeone broke his silence over the links with Partey, admitting the midfielder was attracting some attention.
“Thomas is the one who best understands this position and the transition from defence to attack, shooting, scoring, providing assists and playing passes between the lines,” Simeone said.
“When he’s at his best level consistently, he’s so good that all the best teams in Europe are looking at him.”