Lucas Torreira has had questions asked of him at Arsenal as of late for a number of reasons. The game against Manchester City is his chance at salvation.
Lucas Torreira has had a relatively indifferent tenure with Arsenal. Upon signing him after an impressive World Cup with his native Uruguay, where he attracted interest from a number of top-class European sides, there was a feeling amongst supporters that he was going to be the man to fill the void that was left in the defensive midfield area for years.
In his first season with the club, he managed an incredible five man of the match awards consecutively in the middle stages of the season, capping off the fifth match on the bounce with a tremendous bicycle kick against Huddersfield town on December 8th at the Emirates.
So, the stage was set, Torreira is the real deal, he is the man who will solidify Arsenal’s long-time frail midfield spine, right?
Wrong, for now at least. Unai Emery, somewhat foolishly decided Torreira was actually better suited to a more attacking role and we have not seen the best of the Uruguayan terrier since. This lead to Torreira losing his red hot form and Emery losing his job.
Lucas Torreira has a chance to reassert himself at Arsenal
When Mikel Arteta came into the club, there was a sense that he was the man who could get the best out of our quality, yet underperforming players. Payers like Torreira possessed undeniable talent, but Emery had no clue at all how to extract it from them.
Unfortunately for Torreira, unlike David Luiz and Granit Xhaka especially, and a flurry of other players, he was not one that saw his form and fortunes improve. To further compile the pain of lacking a re-galvanization of sorts, Torreira picked up an injury that sidelined him for eight weeks prior to the coronavirus pandemic halting proceedings. It was thought that he would be out for the rest of the season, but now with football resuming at a much later date, he will have a chance, like all other fit footballers in the Premier League to play again.
The game against Manchester City is massive for Arsenal as a whole, but for Torreira it is equally important as an individual.
Persistent links to Atletico Madrid’s Thomas Partey have seen Torreira’s future at the club cast into doubt. An abundance of supporters are calling for the once thought to be heir to Patrick Vieira to be sold. While I would personally deem that desire incredibly reactionary and short-sighted, it may be a necessary evil if the club is really interested in bringing in Partey, given what the reports are saying he would cost. There are not exactly piles of extra money lying around anywhere at the moment.
Against the adversity and doubt, Torreira must stand up and show supporters and, more importantly, Arteta, why he is the man who can be the serum to help strengthen Arsenal’s feeble spine. The forthcoming match against the blues of Manchester can be a lifeline for the Uruguayan to restore supporters and Arteta’s faith in him.
Whether or not he plays from the start, given the confirmed five-substitute rule, it is likely that he will be awarded some sort of minutes and play at least some part in the match. In those minutes, even if they are brief, Torreira must display why he is the right man for the Arsenal midfield if he wants a future with the club.