Arsenal tipped to sign Granit Xhaka replacement "ideal" for Thomas Partey

Arsenal have been urged to follow up their interest in Brighton's Yves Bissouma to land the "ideal" midfield partner for Thomas Partey.

The Gunners have been linked with a move for the Seagulls' star for months after reportedly making an enquiry regarding the 24-year-old's availability in January.

In the meantime Partey has had to deal with several injury problems, though has struck up a decent connection with teammate Granit Xhaka.

However, former Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell believes Xhaka is not good enough to be starting regularly for his old club, and feels Bissouma would be the perfect addition to fill his place.

"For five years that Xhaka’s been here we haven’t qualified for the Champions League," Campbell told Football Insider. "That’s not all his fault but he’s played his part.

"People aren’t convinced because he’s been there, he’s got the experience, yet in the first half of the season we were awful with him in the team.

"What he did in throwing the shirt down, that is a no-no to any fanbase. He did that, not the fanbase. That all of a sudden turns the people who might have been giving him a pass against him.

"The key to it is production. If you’re a midfielder you’re thinking, do I score, do I create? What does he do? He doesn’t do much in that sense.

"He’s tidy but he’s not gonna hurt you. He scores the odd goal once in a blue moon but you can’t rely on him."

Campbell added: "He’s a good continuity player. But I think he’s a squad player. That’s why I think Bissouma alongside Thomas Partey would be ideal for Arsenal."

It is as yet unclear how big of a transfer kitty Mikel Arteta will have at his disposal but another midfielder is thought to be on his radar.

Arteta was keen to bring in Lyon's Houssem Aouar as well as Partey last summer but could now turn to Bissouma instead as a cheaper and more viable target.

Leicester are also in the running for his signature while Bissouma's agent previously revealed there had been "significant interest" from across Europe too.

Bissouma has been ever-present for his side this season, making 30 appearances in all competitions and ranks fourth-highest in the Premier League for tackles completed (74).

“I'm still new to the Premier League in terms of appearances," Bissouma told the Sussex Express this week. "I have much more to learn and know I can be much better.

“You make one mistake and you can be punished and lose a game. But I now know what the coach and the team wants me to do. As a result, I feel better than last season.

“I think I'm playing well and feel more comfortable playing in the division. Both my defensive and tactical side have improved compared to what it was before.”

Meanwhile Xhaka has hit out at the criticism levied at him over his disciplinary record, claiming he is made a scapegoat due to his reputation.

The Swiss star's collection of six bookings is no worse than a number of players in his position, including Bissouma who has picked up the same amount this season.

“You have to live with criticism in football, but there have to be limits," Xhaka told  Blick.

“There are other players who get red cards, but they don't get criticised as much as I do.

“I sometimes feel that with me it is deliberately made into a bigger issue than it really is."

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