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Thomas Partey to make Arsenal return after nearly five months out with injury

Thomas Partey and Reiss Nelson of Arsenal during a training session

Thomas Partey is set to make his long-awaited return to the Arsenal squad for Monday’s trip to Sheffield United, with the midfielder hoping to play for his club for the first time since early October.

Partey suffered a serious thigh injury in training that has kept him out of action for more than four months.

The 30-year-old’s consistent fitness issues have raised further questions about his long-term future at Arsenal, especially following the successful signing of Declan Rice, but he remains a key part of Mikel Arteta’s plans for now.

“Thomas had a session before the last game and now he’s done two consecutive sessions so he should be part of the squad on Monday,” Arteta said.

Partey was fundamental to Arsenal’s title challenge last season but this season has made only four appearances in the Premier League and none in the Champions League.

The Ghana international will have one year remaining on his lucrative Arsenal contract at the end of this season, which means that the forthcoming transfer window will be the club’s last opportunity to sell him for a significant fee.

He could yet have a major part to play in this season’s title race, though, due to his ability to play as a defensive midfielder or on the right of Arteta’s back four.

Another player who is nearing a return from injury is summer signing Jurrien Timber, who suffered a serious anterior cruciate ligament injury on the opening day of the league campaign.

It was initially feared that Timber would miss the entire season but the Dutch international is now back in training. He will not be ready for Monday’s trip to Sheffield but could now make his return later in March.

Asked about the impressive speed of Timber’s recovery, Arteta said: “It’s been a joy and all the physios and the medical staff are really happy with his attitude, and his commitment, especially with the way things have gone.

“It’s not a coincidence the way he applies [himself], how determined he is, his willingness to put every effort in everything that he’s demanded to do and he’s in a really good place. Now we have to manage [him] because it’s the last stage of that difficult injury that is complicated, but I think he’s on the right way.

“[We have missed] his leadership, his versatility, the quality that he has to play in different positions, especially in an attacking phase, the spaces that he can occupy and certain qualities that nobody else in the squad has to do that. As you could tell, he was fitting in. He’s really liked around the boys, and he’s been a big miss.”

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