Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has stated that he believes Thomas Partey will stay to improve his squad’s depth ahead of the new season despite reports of his departure.

The midfielder has been heavily linked with moves to clubs in the Serie A as well as Saudi Pro League with clubs from the latter believed to have lined up tempting offers to cajole the deputy Black Stars captain.

Despite the departure of Granit Xhaka, the recent arrival of England international Declan Rice has intensified the doubt about the future of Partey who is believed to be exploring the options as well.

However, ahead of the team’s pre-season clash with Manchester United on Saturday, Arteta claimed the player was in his plans regardless of the number of midfielders available now.

“Without a question of a doubt. Thomas is a super important player for us and for me. I want him to be part of the team. That’s for sure,” he said at the pre-match press conference.

“Every time I spoke to him and had a conversation with him he’s ready to stay with us. For me, there’s nothing there at all.”

He added that Partey was capable of being paired with new signing Declan Rice.

“They can play together. That was in my plans. If you want to improve the squad and have more quality you need players that can improve the squad and players in the same position that can fight for the same places. It’s something that we haven’t had in the last few years. We wanted to improve that. That’s why we bought Declan as well.”

Partey joined his teammates in the United States for the pre-season training and is working to fight for his position if he stays.

The team will be competing in the UEFA Champions League among other major competitions including the English Premier League.