When Lucas Torreira joined Arsenal in the summer of 2018 the signing was met with huge excitement and anticipation. The Uruguayan was on Juventus’ radar prior to signing for the North London club and had forged quite the reputation for himself in the Italian top-flight.
Fast-forward almost 16 months and the 23-year-old is struggling to nail down a regular place in Unai Emery’s side. Arsenal fans would have thought they had finally found the tenacious defensive midfielder they had been crying out for but things haven’t worked out quite as everybody around the club had hoped.
Torreira enjoyed his best spell in an Arsenal shirt playing alongside Granit Xhaka in a double-pivot last season but during this current campaign, the former Sampdoria man has been in and out of the side (WhoScored). During the summer, there were reports the midfielder was struggling to adapt to life in England and was considering a move back to Italy in the summer.
Torreira was never first choice
If we’re to believe the reports, Emery would have preferred to bring Steven Nzonzi in, somebody with a greater physical presence to martial the Arsenal midfield and so Torreira falling out of favour eventually doesn’t come as that great of a surprise to most.
Despite what the supporters think, it seems Lucas Torreira, in terms of his physical profile is not in line with what Emery’s requires from his deepest midfield player and hence why Xhaka was constantly selected ahead of him despite being less combative, less tenacious and generally speaking, unsuited to the role.
Emery’s favouritism has contributed to his own and Torreira’s downfall
When Torreira has played in recent times, he’s been deployed in a completely different role to the one he made his own at Sampdoria. He’s been asked to play further forward in a role that demands some creative ability and given that’s not his natural game, his performances have suffered as a result.
The removal of Torreira from the defensive midfield position has not only had a negative impact on the player but it’s seen the Gunners results suffer too.