Arsenal have finally announced the signing of Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria. The deal, which was essentially agreed upon by both clubs weeks ago, was delayed due to the player’s involvement in the World Cup with Uruguay. Nevertheless, Torreira has completed his medical in London and the Gunners finally get their new marquee man.
During a time in which transfer fees are skyrocketing, Arsenal reportedly receive the 22-year-old midfielder for a reasonable £26 million. Though not pocket change, the cost-to-talent ratio involved in this transfer is outstanding business by the north London club. Torreira has been widely praised for his play in both Serie A with Sampdoria and the World Cup with Uruguay. The defensive midfielder has also been compared to world-class players in his position.
In fact, Marcello Donatelli, Torreira’s former assistant manager while at Pescara, recently claimed that the Uruguayan is the second strongest midfielder in Europe outside of Barcelona’s Sergio Busquets. “His technique, his determination, and his tactical intelligence always impressed me,” Donatelli told Sky Sports.
“He has always been strong in understanding those defensive tactical aspects and he is very mature tactically in terms of how he reads the game. He can cope with the gaps that emerge in midfield with great intelligence and he covers very well. He is the one who corrects the spaces and cuts out the passes between the lines in the defensive phase. After Sergio Busquets, he is tactically the strongest midfielder in Europe.”
Another player that Torreira has been compared to is Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante. Besides the obvious similarities in size between the two midfielders, their game is practically identical. Both players are full of energy, technically superior, positionally disciplined, and are not afraid of diving into a tackle. If Torreira turns out to be anywhere near the caliber of either Busquets or Kante, Arsenal fans will be thrilled.
While the Gunners have made some decent additions this summer, this Torreira deal is the exact signing that the club has needed for some time now. It is a 10 out of 10 signing. Current defensive midfielder Granit Xhaka is a solid player. In fact, he is an elite distributor of the ball. However, the Swiss international is not necessarily a ballhawk that will rack up interceptions and tackles in the middle of the pitch. Torreira, however, fits this mold.
Some may assume that the Uruguayan will supplant Xhaka in the team’s starting XI; however, playing the two side by side in the center of the pitch would be an ideal situation for the Gunners. Firstly, having both in the team just ahead of the back four will aide a defense that is coming off of a shaky 2017/18 campaign. Second of all, the unique attributes of Torreira and Xhaka will help turn defense into offense because of their exceptional passing abilities.
Torreira will certainly boost an Arsenal team that ranked 11th in tackles and 12th in interceptions as a team during Premier League play last season. With one of the more talented offenses in England, as well as making some astute defensive signings this summer, this Torreira transfer was an essential piece of the puzzle if the Gunners are going to get back to the Champions League.