Lucas Torreira’s agent has unsettled Arsenal fans quite a bit in the last few days with an interview regarding his client. Pablo Bentancur, who also works in the same agency that represents fellow Uruguayans such as Abel Hernandez and Gaston Ramirez, has claimed that the Arsenal midfielder is “no longer at ease” in north London.
“Clearly there’s interest for Torreira, especially from Spanish clubs, but I have never sat down with any club to talk about his transfer,” Bentancur recently told Calciomercato. “This is because of the great respect we have for the Gunners and their general manager Raul Sanllehi.”
“I don’t want to name the teams out of respect,” Bentancur continued, “but I can tell you that Atletico [Madrid] had tried to take Lucas from Sampdoria two years ago.”
The agent also left the door open over a possible return to Italy in the future. “Lucas always follows Italian football with great interest, I can’t rule out anything. In Italy he grew up as a player and as a man, he brings to heart his experiences at Pescara and Sampdoria.” Torreira spent five seasons in Italy prior to his Arsenal transfer in 2018.
It appears as if a majority of the problem surrounding Torreira’s happiness in England comes down to his position/playing time under head coach Unai Emery. Although Emery previously deployed the Uruguayan as a conventional defensive midfielder during the 2018/19 campaign, the Spanish coach has played Torreira further up the pitch this season.
Bentancur reiterated these concerns in the interview with the Italian press. “I must say that the change of role has penalized him sharply,” said the agent. “He is no longer at ease and we hope that things can change.”
“We have no problem with Arsenal, but only words of thanks. Arsenal has allowed Lucas to compete in the Premier League, he has always been shown great confidence.”
The move to push Torreira forward is somewhat similar to how former Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri utilized N’Golo Kante during the 2018/19 season. Like Kante, Torreira is an excellent defensive-minded midfielder, but not necessarily a prolific playmaker going forward.
Emery previously stated that he has decided to move Torreira further up the pitch because the Uruguayan was the best man to lead a high press against opposing Premier League teams.
Along with the positional problem, Emery has also opted to keep Torreira on the bench for a majority of his starting XI’s during the current Premier League season. In fact, the 23-year-old midfielder has made just four of a possible 12 starts in league play so far.
Statistically speaking, Torreira’s per 90 minutes stats are down mostly across the board. Averaging fewer tackles, interceptions, total passes, and accurate long balls, the midfielder appears to be having a bad year. Nevertheless, ability or talent is not the issue in this case. Torreira just clearly plays better when he is deployed in the correct position.
Coming over from Sampdoria, Torreira was one of the most important players in the squad last season. While some may need their freshman Premier League campaign to acclimate to the high quality of play, the Uruguayan was a hit almost instantly. Mostly paired next to Granit Xhaka, another midfielder possibly looking to depart the club, Torreira excelled at breaking up play deep in his own territory and then feeding the ball to fellow teammates going forward.
Still just 23, Torreira has time to get even better. Arsenal can’t afford to let a player of his quality leave because of justifiable gripes with the head coach. This is especially true when the head coach is currently skating on thin ice at the moment. Emery could very well be sacked before the season ends due to continuous poor results.
There have been reports that Bentancur and Sanllehi will meet soon to talk about Torreira’s future with the club. With it being very well known that Arsenal’s brass did not want to sell Torreira this past summer under any circumstances, surely Sanllehi will do everything he can to ease the player’s mind on his rule with the Gunners. Torreira is clearly a favorite among Sanllehi and the fans. A coaching change could be exactly what the midfielder needs to get back to his normal ways on the pitch.
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