Arsenal legend Gilberto Silva has heaped praised on Thomas Partey and claimed the Ghanaian is the best holding midfielder they have had since his departure in 2008.
Partey joined Arsenal on transfer deadline day last October when they paid his £45million release clause from Atletico Madrid.
The 27-year-old’s debut campaign at the Emirates has been blighted by injury problems but he demonstrated his class in Sunday’s 2-1 north London derby win over bitter rivals Tottenham.
And when asked if Partey is the best holding midfielder Arsenal have had since he left, Gilberto was gushing in his praise – adding that he makes others better, such as Granit Xhaka and the defence.
‘I guess so. In my opinion, I agree with you,’ the 44-year-old Brazilian told Stadium Astro.
‘He’s a good player. He’s the type of player Arsenal were missing, I’ve spoken a couple of times about it.
‘They have good players in the [central midfield] position but not to sit and give Arsenal the stability they have.
‘Look at the game [against Spurs] it was great to see how he managed his game, how he managed that position, helping [team-mates].
‘You know what is very important about this particular position? This is a very particular position because not every time you get the credit you deserve.
‘That’s okay, it’s fine, because you have to understand that. But this guy, when he understands the position like Partey, look at his game. He made the others a lot better.
‘He makes Xhaka look better in the game, he made the defenders look a lot better and comfortable when the ball was against them.
‘I think the way he manages games, the way he positions himself, is very important for Arsenal. He is the kind of player Arsenal have needed for quite a long time in my opinion.’
Silva, who was part of the Gunners’ title-winning Invincibles side in 2003-04, will hope Partey can continue this momentum into their Europa League last-16 second leg with Olympiacos and then Sunday’s tricky Premier League trip to West Ham.