When Arsenal signed Thomas Partey during the summer transfer window from Atletico Madrid, he was seen as the transformative midfielder that would come in and change the club's fortunes instantly.
Despite the impact of the global pandemic, the Gunners broke the bank to sign the Ghanaian having triggered his £45m release clause back in October. However, the 27-year-old's start to life in the Premier League hasn't been as successful as many would have hoped - and that is largely due to injury.
Partey has made just 13 appearances in the English top-flight this season and when he has played, he hasn't always looked in peak condition. In November he suffered a muscular injury and, having been rushed back for the north London derby, he broke down inside the first half.
Following that, he missed a further ten games and another couple of weeks in February. Considering that, prior to his arrival at the Emirates Stadium he suffered very few injury issues, you can understand why when it comes to the midfielder's fitness, many supporters have been left cursing their luck.
Even when deemed fit enough to start, he has struggled to play at a high level for a full 90 minutes. At Burnley last weekend, he managed to impose himself for the first 30 minutes before fading away and the significant drop off in performance in some ways, contributed to the Gunners' failure to take all three points.
Similarly in Piraeus on Thursday night, Partey looked off of the pace and clearly Mikel Arteta was unhappy with what he had seen because he was substituted with less than an hour on the clock.
There is no doubting his quality and pedigree however, having invested such a large amount of money in the player - at a time when funds were tight - there is obviously greater scrutiny on his performances. The centre of midfield is a position in which the Gunners have struggled this season.
Dani Ceballos' performances have been inconsistent and Mohamed Elneny, despite scoring an excellent goal at Olympiacos, he hasn't always shown himself to be 'an Arsenal player'. Granit Xhaka continues to divide opinion and so there is a huge reliance on the former Atleti man to bring an added quality and stability to the heart of the team.
Partey is highly experienced having competed at the top of La Liga as well as in the UEFA Champions League regularly prior to arriving in London but it's probably fair to say his adaptation to Premier League football has been a less seamless one than he, or the Arsenal faithful, would have hoped.
Midfield was clearly an area that during the summer window the Gunners felt needed addressing and to the club's credit, they got the deal over the line. His struggle for full fitness has clearly been a major problem and there is no getting away from the fact that in recent weeks, he has been a shadow of the player Arsenal splashed out on.
Source : 90min