It is looking increasingly likely Arsenal will need to lose some players in order to fund some transfers for others, and one of those players that could be sacrificed is midfielder Lucas Torreira.
According to the Telegraph, the Gunners will hope to recoup the £26m transfer fee they paid for the Uruguayan when he made the switch from Italy to North London in 2018.
Former Arsenal CEO Ivan Gazidis, who helped Arsenal buy Torreira from Italian side Sampdoria, is now the current executive at AC Milan and it seems he wants to bring the midfielder with him to the San Siro.
Torreira joined Arsenal at just 22 years of age on the back of an excellent World Cup, both from Uruguay and Torreira individually. With strong rumours coming from Italy about the midfielder moving to North London before the World Cup, Gunners fans were watching his every move during the South American’s World Cup games.
His performances were so impressive that Arsenal fans were left fearing another club could persuade Torreira to go back on his verbal agreement with the Gunners and join them instead. Thankfully, this didn’t happen, and it seemed like Arsenal had got an excellent player for a very good price.
With the help of Torreira, Uruguay made it to the quarter finals, before being knocked out by winners France. Then just four days later, the Uruguayan was announced as an Arsenal player.
Arsenal fans had been crying out for a defensive midfielder for years and, for the first six months of his time with the Gunners, it seemed like the North London side had finally found their man. With age on his side too, it seemed like he could be in the Arsenal team for the next decade.
Unfortunately, Torreira’s time at Arsenal didn’t work out as well as it seemed it might. While he was clearly a talented defensive midfielder, manager Unai Emery wanted to play him in a different role to what he was comfortable with.
In an attempt to make Arsenal press teams high up the pitch, Emery played Torreira as the most attacking midfielder in a midfield three, because he was seen as the most efficient presser in the team.
However, Torreira had never played this role in his career before and, while he didn’t struggle much off the ball, when he was in possession, the midfielder had problems.
From that moment onwards, his Arsenal career began to falter. A combination of Unai Emery’s poor team set up and Torreira’s lack of cutting edge on the ball, meant his time in the Gunners’ team began to grow more inconsistent.
Unfortunately for Torreira, a lengthy injury has kept him out for the majority of new manager Mikel Arteta’s time at Arsenal. However, even during the time he has been back since the restart, the midfielder hasn’t had a consistent amount of game time, starting just two games since his return from injury.
Even when the 24-year-old has played, he has proven to be largely ineffective, demonstrated especially when he was subbed off at half time in a 1-0 loss against Aston Villa. While his defensive ability cannot be overlooked, he is a fairly limited player when in possession, especially in comparison to the other midfielders in the squad.
Torreira has demonstrated he has a very good reading of the game and has good defensive awareness, however, especially in Mikel Arteta’s system, this isn’t enough for a central midfielder.
Something Arteta has made clear is he wants his players to be forward-thinking on the ball. While Torreira is a good player to bring on and see out a game, he hasn’t shown the dribbling ability of a midfielder like Ceballos, or the passing range and accuracy of someone like Xhaka, and this is why, in my opinion, he is likely to leave.
I personally had very high hopes for Torreira when he first joined Arsenal, however due to not fitting into the league, or Arteta’s system, and being fairly limited on the ball, I think it’s right for everyone if he moves on in the summer.
Even though it didn’t work out, I believe he could be a great player in a different league where the intensity isn’t as high as it is in the Premier League and where his main role in the team is to sit back and defend.