Unai Emery rates Lucas Torreira’s form since Arsenal move

The Arsenal midfielder is flourishing in Unai Emery’s side since his summer move from Serie A

By George Hallam
Arsenal star Lucas Torreira Photo: Screen grab

Unai Emery has spoken of his excitement about Lucas Torreira’s huge potential at Arsenal.

Torreira has been gradually introduced into the Arsenal side this season since his summer move from Serie A outfit Sampdoria.

Excitement was rife after his quality performances at the World Cup in Russia, and Torreira is now at the heart of a highly functional, high achieving team.

And Emery, whose side were 5-1 winners against Fulham on Sunday, is encouraged by Torreira’s start to life at the north London side.

“He’s very young, it’s his first season here at this level but he was playing in Italy which is a very hard competition also,” Emery told Arsenal’s website.

“He is playing also with his national team, against big teams.

“And here, I think with his process he’s doing very well.

“The first is his humility to work every day, to listen, to learn.

“He is playing today in the middle, then right in the 4-4-2 and his performance is the same.

“I think his career is just starting and we want to do it with him, he can do it with us, giving us and giving him the best performances at the best level.”

Torreira, 22, began his youth career in his native Uruguay, first with 18 de Julio and then Montevideo Wanderers.

He moved to Italy and the youth academy of Pescara in 2013 before being promoted to the first-team just a year later.

Five Serie B appearances saw Serie A stalwarts Sampdoria bring him in, though they immediately loaned him back to Pescara.

In 2016-17 and 2017-18 he made 74 appearances for Sampdoria and went to the World Cup in Russia this summer where he caught the attention of world football.

Arsenal landed his signature shortly after Uruguay’s World Cup campaign ended as Emery attempted to bring some balance to his new midfield.

Arsene Wenger’s midfield has been a matter of contention in previous years as the Gunners struggled to find players who bring more solutions than problems.

Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, who is now at West Ham, have technical ability in abundance but serious injuries have stopped them having consistent game time, while dampening their willingness to defend.

Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny often received the opposite criticism – they are perceived as defensive heavyweights with not enough technical ability or urgency.

Torreira, whilst not having the tactical ability of a player like Ramsey, does have more of an attacking disposition than Xhaka or Elneny, and also an aggression and engine to overshadow all of the above.

Dominance of the midfield has long been understood to produce winning football, and the last few weeks have shown Torreira can act as a metronome and a pivot at the same time.

Though correlation does not always imply causation, Torreira’s ever-increasing presence in Arsenal FC’s midfield alongside their blistering form is an optimistic insight into what life under Emery is going to be like.

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