After what it seems like months of rumours thanks to the World Cup, as per the usual David Ornstein tweet, Arsenal seem to be getting their man. Lucas Torreira:
Two medicals taking place at Arsenal today – 22-year-old Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira from Sampdoria and 19-year-old France Under-20 midfielder Matteo Guendouzi from Lorient. Torreira key signing for immediate term, Guendouzi high-potential prospect for future #AFC #URU #FRA
— David Ornstein (@bbcsport_david) July 9, 2018
Over the course of the World Cup, many Arsenal fans, myself included paid close attention to the performances of Torreira and its fair to say he impressed.
Reaching the quarterfinals, his contribution was as key as the role of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani to getting there. Playing at the base of their midfield diamond and standing the exact same height as N’Golo Kanté (5’6”), Torreira’s game during the World Cup offered many similarities to that of the Frenchman.
Over the course of the tournament, Torreira featured in all five of Uruguay’s games (starting three). As Torreira did have a solid setup around him including Diego Godin and José Mariá Giménez it could be easy to miss out on what Torreira actually does to help keep goals from going into the Uruguay net. Something that he was very successful in doing, only conceding once by the time they met France.
As a midfield general of sorts, we saw Torreira make 12 interceptions, make six tackles, eight clearances and 11 blocks overall. With Arsenal having been on the lookout for a defensive midfielder for ages this is very encouraging reading for Arsenal fans. Especially as these numbers were accumulated in just 304 minutes (three starts and 34 minutes off the bench) of football. (Stats provided by WhoScored).
Many may think that because of this performance at the World Cup, he should play in that deeper role at Arsenal but that doesn’t have to be the case. Despite Arsenal having many defensive frailties over the years, Torreira has proved he can affect games just as well from the heart of midfield as well as from just in front of the defence.
At Sampdoria last season he spent most of his time in the middle of the park where his numbers read very similarly to his World Cup ones, if not better. This can be seen when looking at his stats per 90 minutes (rounded up and down) in Serie A from 2017/18.
He completed three tackles per 90 compared to two at the World Cup, two interceptions per 90 compared to three at the World Cup and two blocks compared to three per 90 in the World Cup.
Therefore, we can see that, if David Ornstein is to be right again which he probably will be, we will be getting a player who is very consistent in his defensive contribution to the team. Something that we’ve needed at Arsenal for a long while, and with the work rate shown in the World Cup, hopefully, that along with Unai Emery can help those around him work just that much harder as the season progresses.
Although this is a very good signing, the one thing that worries me is the expectation that this could wrap up out first team recruitment. Don’t get me wrong I know we didn’t have much money to spend in this window so it’s logical that, that is the case. However, looking at the defence, I wouldn’t be opposed to letting Shkodran Mustafi out the door for another new centre back to arrive at Arsenal.
But hey, I guess it’s better to finish your business early rather than leaving it to the last minute like we usually do.