When it was reported that Arsenal were in fact keen on signing Lucas Torreira this summer from Sampdoria, many fans of the north London club rushed to YouTube to see what kind of player they were possibly getting. A relative unknown to most Premier League fans at the time, Torreira’s highlights and statistics from the Serie A outfit were quite impressive. Football fans from around the world quickly released just how good the pint-sized player was during the 2018 World Cup.
The 22-year-old midfielder rarely made a mistake during Uruguay’s run to the quarterfinals, with his best performance coming against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal side in the round of 16. Following this successful tournament by the youngster, the Gunners finally made the signing of Torreira official.
To fend off possible bids from other clubs and to also make installment payments on the player’s transfer fee, Arsenal actually paid around £4.4 million more than his reported £22 million release clause from Sampdoria. While this was somewhat unusual to see, the Gunners still received Torreira for an absolute bargain.
New head coach Unai Emery slowly integrated Torreira into the squad to start the season. In fact, his first Premier League start did not come until September 23rd, the sixth match of the campaign. Although it took some time for Torreira to receive his first start, he did not disappoint. The Gunners managed to keep their first clean sheet of the season during the match and the Uruguayan put in a solid shift.
Arsenal have yet to lose a match when Torreira starts for the club, and their goal difference is significantly better with him in the squad. The Gunners are just +1 in goal difference without Torreira in the starting XI and +10 with him starting alongside Granit Xhaka in midfield.
Speaking of Xhaka, the partnership between the Swiss international and Torreira has been virtually perfect. The Uruguayan is a prototypical terrier in the middle of the pitch. His ability to make a tackle, intercept a pass, and turn defense into offense is simply top notch. This also frees up Xhaka to receive passes and utilize his impeccable distribution skills (both short and long range) to his teammates going forward.
This premier partnership was on full display during Arsenal’s highly anticipated match with Liverpool at the weekend. Though the game ended in a 1-1 draw, Arsenal were most likely the better team and Torreira/Xhaka were a significant part of that. Xhaka recorded more passes, recoveries, and tackles out of anyone else on the pitch. Torreira, on the other hand, was awarded the Man of the Match for his phenomenal performance.
The Liverpool match was truly Torreira’s introduction to the Premier League stage. Playing exceptionally well against teams in the bottom half of the table is nice, but putting in a MOTM performance in your first start against a top six Premier League team is certainly impressive.
Between making his teammates better, putting in top performances against the best teams, and the fact that he is still just 22-years-old, it seems as if Arsenal made an unbelievable decision when signing Torreira. In fact, he could possibly be the Premier League signing of the season come May.