ARSENAL are in pole position to sign Thomas Partey after the midfielder rejected Atletico Madrid's new contract, according to reports.
The Spanish side wanted the 27-year-old to pen a new deal that would eradicate his £45million release clause.
But Partey, whose current contract expires in 2023, turned it down because he wants to finalise his move to the Premier League.
Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta is eager to get a deal over the line but is being forced to raise transfer funds before forking out the figure.
Matteo Guendouzi, Lucas Torreira and Shkodran Mustafi are all up for grabs.
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According to Marca, Atletico are resigned to losing Partey and have already lined up a replacement in Espanyol's Marc Roca.
Diego Simeone is now waiting for Arsenal to lodge an official bid for Partey before making a move for the 23-year-old.
The Gunners' delay in making their move could come back to haunt Arteta after Paris Saint-Germain entered the race.
Playing in the Premier League remains Partey's priority and is willing to remain patient for now.
Thomas made 46 appearances for Atletico last term, including both legs of their Champions League round of 16 victory over Liverpool.
Arteta wants a new-look midfield for the new season having already welcomed the return of Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan.
And he wants Lyon's Houssem Aouar to play alongside Partey in the middle of the park.
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