Arsenal transfer news: This is what Lucas Torreira will bring to Unai Emery's midfield, World Cup 2018 scouting report

Torreira is exactly the kind of no-nonsense midfielder the club have been craving 

Jack Austin@jackaustin_1
Tuesday 10 July 2018 15:37
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Lucas Torreira has signed for Arsenal from Italian club Sampdoria on a long-term deal.

He has been handed the number 11 shirt by new manager Unai Emery and will join up with his new squad mates in August.

The 22-year-old enjoyed a superb World Cup with Uruguay and will add some much needed steel to Arsenal's midfield.

Jack Austin kept a close eye on Torreira during Uruguay's match against host nation Russia, and this scouting report reveals exactly what the young midfielder will add to the club.

Scouting report:

As it usually is with Uruguay, all the focus against Russia was on their two blue-chip strikers, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, with the former’s early free-kick setting the tone on what proved to be a long afternoon for World Cup 2018 hosts Russia.

The dynamic duo, who had flattered to deceive in their first two games - despite winning both - finally began to click as the South Americans, fancied as the tournament’s dark horses, secured top spot in Group A.

Whether Russia, who had run the most of any team in the tournament before this game, had allowed fatigue to set in or just simply met their match is up for debate, but perhaps it was nothing to do with them and more to do with the one key change Oscar Tabarez made to his midfield.

While most of the focus from the host broadcaster was on Russia, their players and their failings in Samara, and most of the focus from the neutrals tuning in around the world was on the likes of Suarez and Cavani, there was very little attention paid a blink-and-you’ll-miss-him 5ft 6in diminutive midfielder, starting his first game for Uruguay this World Cup. Well, there may have been a few curious observers from north London.

Torreira, the Arsenal-bound midfielder, went about his job as the deep-lying pivot in the middle of the park with none of the fuss and all of the discipline of a player who has built a tidy reputation for himself in Serie A - a reputation which has been followed by Unai Emery at Paris Saint-Germanin, and now as head coach at the Emirates.

Far too often this season, and last, has Arsenal’s midfield been the stick to beat them with as they went from weakness to weakness in the final years of Arsene Wenger’s reign. Granit Xhaka was so often the scapegoat, so often rightly so, and one social media search during a game he is playing in will tell you why - he is frustratingly error-prone.

A quick search of Torreira’s name, however, will find you nothing but praise. One even refers to him, in Spanish, as “the man with three lungs” due to his relentless running, with other likening him to Chelsea's N'Golo Kante.

Against Russia, the 22-year-old worked in the shadows. Quietly nicking an interception here, effortlessly passing the ball to a teammate there. Minimal fuss, maximum efficiency. There just wasn’t the drama that comes with having Xhaka in that position, even if some of that drama the high of a long-range, left-footed hammer into the top corner. Torreira has only ever scored eight goals in his career and does not offer that, but he also did not offer the lows either.

Lucas Torreira shows off his juggling skills

The only time he looked slightly out of his depth was in an aerial challenge with the 6ft 4in Artem Dzyuba, and even then he managed to get his body into a position to make the header an awkward one.

Torreira’s introduction to the Uruguayan starting XI coincided with a more exciting brand of football in Samara, and his arrival at the Emirates has all the potential to see him do exactly the same as part of Emery’s Arsenal revolution.

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