Arsenal boost in Partey transfer chase as Atletico Madrid close in on replacement that could pave way for £45m move

ATLETICO MADRID are reportedly closing in on Espanyol midfielder Marc Roca, which could pave the way for Arsenal target Thomas Partey to leave the club.

The Ghana international has long been a target for the Gunners, who are yet to meet his £45million release clause.

Mikel Arteta is said to be desperate to revamp his midfield with Matteo Guendouzi and Mesut Ozil banished from the starting XI.

Real Madrid loanee Dani Ceballos has gone back to Spain with Lyon's Houssem Aouar and Allan of Napoli other targets.

Thought to be behind the delay in signing Partey is Atleti's demand that his release clause be met in full.

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With the 27-year-old reportedly wanting a £200,000 weekly wage, the Premier League club are struggling to find the cash.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles' move to Wolves could ease along negotiations as Arsenal hope to make £20m off the academy product.

And Spanish outlet AS detail Atletico's talks with recently relegated Espanyol over Roca.

The midfielder is subject to talks over a £13.5m switch to Madrid having previously been discussed as a target for Arsenal.

Diego Simeone may want to partner Roca with Partey in the centre of his midfield but economic issues at the Wanda Metropolitano may make the Ghanaian's exit more likely.

Once Roca arrives, Atletico will reportedly have to make do with loan signings due to their bleak financial picture.

A handful of players are said to be up for sale, including Diego Costa, Mario Hermoso and any one of the club's right-backs – including Kieran Trippier, Sime Vrsaljko and Santiago Arias.

Furthermore, one-time Arsenal target Thomas Lemar could leave if a bidder meets Los Rojiblancos' £35m valuation of the Frenchman.

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