Why United must make Thomas Partey midfield target no. 1

Alex Turk

In Stretford Paddock's latest debate, Joe Smith and Adam McKola forged arguments as to why Manchester United should target either Declan Rice or Thomas Partey this summer amid links to both - you can watch that video here:

The West Ham United and Atletico Madrid stars are just two midfield names United have been linked to ahead of what promises to be another transfer window of change.

Partey, commonly known as Thomas in Spain, has been of particular interest to supporters recently though, with Africa-based journalist Saddick Adams claiming he "loves" being linked with a move to Old Trafford.

A source close to the Ghanaian international, also thought to be subject of interest from Arsenal, has claimed he favours a move to the Premier League and could be sniped for just £43.5million due to his enticing €50million release clause.

Atletico have been aiming to persuade Thomas to extend terms with the club to remove that clause from his contract, but he's said to be uninterested in staying at the Wanda Metropolitano.

So with the aforementioned fee and United's current options in mind, I believe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer should make the 26-year-old a priority target.

The last 12 months have been the most significant in Thomas' career to date and whilst United are clearly targeting a playmaker in the form of Jack Grealish, he'd provide something completely different.

From a spectator's viewpoint, there aren't many players currently in Europe who can protect the defence but also catalyse attacking play as efficiently as Thomas.

Grealish is a top talent, but Solskjaer already has two of Europe's top creative midfielders at his disposal, in the form of Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba.

Thomas would provide something fresh; Nemanja Matic is most suited for the role but realistically, he won't be around for much longer and Fred and Scott McTominay seem better fitted with a bit of freedom.

The Atleti man would arrive at Old Trafford and become an instant regular at the base of Solskjaer's midfield, although he isn't an anchorman like Michael Carrick. Albeit, football has developed since Carrick's time.

Amongst United players, only Aaron Wan-Bissaka (3.8) has averaged more tackles per game than Thomas this season (2.5).

His possession-winning statistics are bolstered further by the fact he's won possession (29) more than any other midfielder in the Champions League this term.

Only RB Leipzig's Konrad Laimer has completed more successful tackles (33) than any other player in the elite competition.

As previously mentioned, Thomas has proved he can carry the ball himself too with a dribble success rate of 87% in all competitions.

United have been made to regret their failure to replace Ander Herrera at times this season, but this dynamic ace would make it well worth the wait.

He's surprisingly gettable and would contribute in taking Solskjaer's side to the next level next season.