For a young Thomas Partey, there was one player he watched closer than anyone else: Michael Essien.
The former Ghana international midfielder was a major force in the Premier League, and our newest recruit admits that he idolised his compatriot throughout his formative years.
“He's a fantastic midfielder,” Partey told Arsenal.com. “He fights for every ball, he's a great legend. For me, he's one of the best midfielders that we've ever had in Africa.
“I think we've all seen what he has done at Chelsea, what he has done for the Black Stars and for me, he's my idol.
“I grew up watching Michael Essien, Muntari, the Ayew brothers - they are the people I look up to and they made a lot of impact on Ghanaians. I think this is my moment and I have to make sure I take it.”
So could Partey himself now inspire the next generation of players in Ghana?
“Now most of the young guys are looking up to me and I think I have to do my best to make sure I get them to support this great family [at Arsenal],” he said. “When they support me, they're going to feel good when they see us play.”
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