This week there has been a big increase in online reports linking Atletico Madrid midfielder Thomas Partey to Manchester United.
Who is behind it? Will it happen? Do United need him?
We tracked the rumours to their original source, and assess whether the 25-year-old could be Old Trafford bound.
What has been said?
The rumours were sparked when Partey’s agent made public the midfielder’s release clause of £43.5 million.
Daniel Jimenez happened to let slip to passioneinter.com: “The termination clause in Thomas’s contract is 50 million euros, and that’s a cheap figure for a player like him.”
This was picked up by national papers in England, with Partey touted as a United target.
Then 24 hours later, Football Ghana claimed United were ‘set to’ activate the release clause.
Days later Jimenez was at it again, telling FcInterNews “He is like Pogba, he’s a box to box player, but he is better than the Frenchman.
“That is because he does more defensive work. I feel that because he is African, he gets much less media coverage than the Manchester United player.”
Partey himself played it more cool. He told the BBC: It’s hard for me to talk about transfers because the next minute it will be like ‘Thomas is trying to leave’ but for me playing football is what makes me happy.”
Do Manchester United want Thomas Partey?
This is the real question and the one we don’t have a conclusive answer to. It sounds however, like United are being used. Or, Partey is genuinely hoping to trigger United’s attention.
The reports and media coverage appear to be coming from Partey’s camp, rather than United’s.
The claims United were set to activate his release clause were first published at the start of the week, and nothing has happened.
That could just be Ed Woodward being slow, or United are simply not pursuing him.
United certainly need midfielders, and Partey, 25, is more experienced and simply put, better than reported target Sean Longstaff. It’s fair to say he’s probably an upgrade on Fred and would be a good addition to the squad. He could end up replacing Nemanja Matic.
Last season Partey played 32 La Liga games for Atletico, starting 22. He scored three and provided four assists. It makes sense he would want a move to become a more regular starter.
He will be featuring for Ghana in the upcoming African Cup of Nations. His agent is making sure Partey is in the shop window by raising his profile.