What Lucas Torreira can offer Arsenal
There's nothing Arsenal fans enjoy more than new signings. After over a decade of watching their biggest rivals splash the cash, the Gunners faithful eagerly anticipate Unai Emery's first transfer window as manager.
Arsenal's summer activity is off to an interesting start. With Stephan Lichtsteiner already confirmed, the club currently works on deals for both Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Bernd Leno.
If those three players weren't enough, Lucas Torreira looks on the verge of joining the Gunners. According to various reports, a £26 million deal is agreed. The transfer fee matches the midfielder's release clause at Sampdoria.
Before recent links, Torreira was a relatively unknown entity in European football. Although his £26 million price tag, paid in instalments, isn't a seismic amount, it's still a heavy investment.
What will Torreira provide Arsenal?
Torreira was born in Fray Bentos, Uruguay on 11 February 1996. Beginning at his hometown club, he moved to Italy in 2014, joining Serie C side Pescara. A year later, his performance was seen worthy enough to leap two divisions, signing for Sampdoria.
Torreira has since impressed with Blucerchiati, making 74 competitive appearances. His form ensured selection in Uruguay's World Cup squad. He earned his fifth cap in Friday's 1-0 victory over Egypt, coming off the bench for the last three minutes.
This season, Torreira was influential in helping Sampdoria secure a top-half finish. Having started 36 of 38 games, he maintained an 87.2% pass accuracy, created 33 chances, while averaging 2.8 tackles and two interceptions per match. He also directly contributed to five goals.
Although small in stature, Torreira’s fight is larger than most. Some compare him to N’Golo Kante: diminutive yet feisty and tenacious. Others liken him to Gary Medal, a tough tackler with excellent interception skills. Marco Verratti comparisons have been made as well due to the Uruguayan's pinpoint passing.
Arsenal often face criticism for lacking both leadership and physicality. Torreira would ease those worries. He'd return some steel to a side which hasn't possessed such an attribute since Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva formed the Invincibles' central midfield partnership.
Torreira doesn't shy away from a 50/50 duel, putting his body on the line every time. He works tirelessly to harass the opposition. His qualities will fit perfectly into Emery's philosophy, one which relies on pressing and possession-based football.
At Paris Saint-Germain, the Gunners' new boss favoured a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation. Should he stick next season, Torreira could either be deployed as a box-to-box midfielder or defensive protector. His versatility makes him suitable to play alongside any of the current crop.
Jack Wilshere is unlikely to partner Torreira, though. Recent reports state the Englishman doesn't feature in Emery's plans for the coming campaign.
Should Torreira sign, Arsenal will gain an immensely talented 22-year-old. Emery possesses a great track record of improving youngsters, including David Silva as Valencia coach and Kylian Mbappe at PSG.
Torreira wouldn't only be good for Arsenal, the club would prove good for him.