Five facts about Arsenal target Lucas Torreira
NEWS DIGEST – Since the appointment of Unai Emery as Arsenal’s new head coach, the North London Club has been extremely busy filling up perceived loopholes among the playing staff.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Stephan Lichsteiner have already been inducted into the rearguard but the Gunners are not stopping there.
With the 30 million euros deal for Sampdoria defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira expected to be completed in the coming days, there are suggestions that Arsenal have finally found a solution to their defensive midfield woes- a horse that has been beaten to death for over ten years.
Who is Lucas Torreira and what does he bring to the table? The NEWS DIGEST brings to you five facts about the defensive midfielder.
Lucas Torreira was born in Fray Bentos, Uruguay in 1996. He began his youth football career at local club 18 de Julio before joining Montevideo Wanderer youth team in 2013 at the age of 17. He was snapped up by Italian side Pescara in the same year before making his debut in a Serie B fixture against Varese in May 2015. Serie A outfit Sampdoria signed him two months later but sent him back to Pescara on loan for the season. He established himself as a regular in Sampdoria’s midfield upon his return to the club and has gone on to make 74 appearances in all competitions.
Torreira has made three appearances for Uruguay since making his international debut earlier this year, and is poised to represent the South American nation in the World Cup this summer.
His playing style is a similar to that of Verratti
Observers and analysts are of the opinion that Torreira’s playing style is similar to Paris Saint-Germain’s deep-lying playmaker Marco Verratti. The scout who helped bring him to Sampdoria. Roberto Druda told Calciomercato last yeart that Former Pescara manager Massimo Oddo and many others are convinced that Torreira can be even stronger than Marco Verratti.”
However, statistics indicate that Torreira’s playmaking ability isn’t quite at Verratti’s level yet. Torreira averaged 60.8 passes per game with a completion percentage of 87.2 last season, compared to 92.7 passes and a 91.2 completion percentage for Verratti in league play. However he is still young enough to live up to the hype and can be well backed to surpass Verratti’s level when he attains his prime.
Small but mighty
The first thing that’s notable about Torreira is his size. At 5 foot, 5inches, he’s not a massive physical presence. But there’s still plenty of steel in the Uruguayan, who uses his size (or lack thereof) to great effect. He is a natural ball winner with an uncanny ability to nip in at the feet of his opponents to win possession, and has the quickness to harass attackers across the pitch.
His diminutive stature means he’s not much of an aerial threat in either box, but Arsenal are used to that: Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin weren’t tall either. Paired with someone like Granit Xhaka or Aaron Ramsey, Torreira’s size shouldn’t be an issue — although playing him next to the similarly short Jack Wilshere could be difficult in the physical Premier League.
He is Emery’s type of player
New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has made it clear he wants to deploy an aggressive press when Arsenal are without the ball, and Torreira fits that kind of system well. Sampdoria have been one of the hardest-pressing teams in Serie A for the last few years, with the Uruguayan a key part of those tactics. He has the speed to close down attackers quickly and is excellent at instigating counter-attacks once the ball has been won back. This definitely spells exciting news for Arsenal fans.
Despite his age, he brings valuable experience to the table
Despite bejng 22 years old, Torreira has been a regular starter in Italy for the last three years. He joined Serie B club Pescara in 2014 from Montevideo Wanderers and stayed there on loan for the 2015-16 campaign after transferring to Sampdoria, cementing a first-team place with 29 league starts.
He has been a crucial part of Sampdoria’s midfield for the past two years, starting a total of 71 Serie A games. This means there would be no problem slotting him straight into the fray at Arsenal.
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