Chelsea could steal in and sign Thomas Partey under Arsenal’s noses – and it is all because of two players.
That is the verdict from Rio Ferdinand, who believes Frank Lampard must fix his defensive woes.
The Gunners are desperate to sign Partey and have been chasing the Atletico Madrid star all summer.
But the Wanda Metropolitano outfit have insisted he is not for sale and told Mikel Arteta he must stump up his release clause – which stands at £45m.
Arsenal cannot afford that and have been trying to offload players in a bid to raise funds.
Matteo Guendouzi, Shkodran Mustafi and Sokratis have been touted to leave.
Thomas Partey could be on his way to the Premier League
(Image: Getty Images)
But they have failed to find any suitors and their dallying has allowed Chelsea to steal in.
The Blues are also desperate to sign a defensive midfielder before the transfer window shuts on Monday.
Declan Rice is Lampard’s top choice in that position but West Ham have insisted he is not for sale.
With time running out, Chelsea must either stick or twist – and find another target.
That man could be Partey and Ferdinand believes Lampard’s lack of trust in Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho could be the reason why.
He told BT Sport: “I think a huge thing for them is to stop conceding goals.
“I think Frank would have looked at it last season and three of the back four that will be playing today are new players.
Atletico Madrid insist Thomas Partey is not for sale
(Image: Alejandro Rios/DeFodi Images)
“He’ll have seen that, a lot of goals conceded and I think the most conceded in 22 years at the club.
“More importantly, we hear reports today of Partey coming in for that central area.
“I don’t think he’s happy with the likes of Kovacic or Jorginho. You can see that because he’s chopping and changing in those positions.