Lucas Torreira is one of the most misused players in the Premier League. Unai Emery has hardly given his abilities enough recognition despite all that the midfielder has done in his career.
This season, Torreira has made only four Premier League starts. In the Europa League, he has played three times. He finds himself in that position, despite Granit Xhaka’s disappointing performances for the Gunners.
He has started both of Arsenal’s game since Xhaka’s booing incident took place at home to Crystal Palace.
That is terribly unfair on him. In the 2018-19 season, Torreira had won the second-highest number of tackles in the league. He had also won the fourth-highest number of interceptions for the club. He scored two goals and one of them came against Tottenham in the North London derby.
Last season, Emery did hail Torreira at one point. The Spaniard said:
“It’s his first season here at this level but he was playing in Italy which is a very hard competition also. He is playing also with his national team, against big teams. And here, I think with his process he’s doing very well.”
“I think his career is just starting and we want to do it with him, he can do it with us, giving us and giving him the best performances at the best level.”
Torreira’s tigerish and tenacious approach connected with Arsenal fans. It was reminiscent of a certain Patrick Vieira, whose similar style left opponents rattled. Perhaps, Emery’s decision to hand Xhaka the captaincy has forced him to play the Swissman more often.
Before his £26 million move, Torreira had impressed in the Serie A at Sampdoria under Marco Giampaolo. Playing in the Blucercherati’s possession-oriented 4-3-1-2 shape, Torreira played as the defensive midfielder. He gave the attacking players a foundation to play with freedom.
In his last season, he was one of their best players. Torreira won the second-highest number of tackles per game- 2.8 and had the best interceptions tally-2.
As frustrating as his situation is at the Emirates, links with Milan would be very encouraging.
While Giampaolo isn’t at the San Siro anymore, but the Rossoneri have seen Torreira’s best from closer by. They know that he is the sort of defensive midfielder who can constantly exchange positions with Ismael Bennacer in the 4-3-3 shape.
Lucas Biglia has taken heavy criticism since he arrived. The Argentine did start the first few games under Giampaolo, but Bennacer has started the last three games for the Rossoneri, proving why he deserves to start regularly.
Now 33, Biglia isn’t as mobile as he was in his younger days. Bennacer is younger, dynamic and quicker on the ball than the former Lazio man. That uncertainty about Biglia’s future was probably why Milan wanted Torreira this past summer too.
They have done their groundwork on the player, who made his name in Italy. Franck Kessie was left at home for Milan’s game against Juventus recently. The Ivorian was accused of being poor in training and arriving late to it.
That isn’t a good sign, considering that the former Atalanta man has drawn links with Wolves, Arsenal and Tottenham. But for Torreira, it is good news.
While Torreira’s preferred position is the defensive midfield position, he played as the central midfielder at Pescara. Bennacer too has played slightly further forward during his time at Empoli in Serie B. Their versatility could be key if Torreira does join.
There is enough variety in the way they play, such that both Torreira and Bennacer can play in the same side. More than that, Torreira is unlikely to cost a huge amount. Arsenal did value the player at €40 million in the summer. But it can be lower now considering how badly the Uruguay international has been made to play.