Penning a thank you message on social media, it felt like a goodbye.
While Lucas Torreira finished his note with “we catch up soon”, it would be a surprise to see him don the Arsenal version of red and white again.
Mikel Arteta is busy sculpting a new-look midfield with key orchestrator Thomas Partey set to pull the strings, another telling indication that the Uruguayan’s time in north London is coming to and end.
He is still, of course, an Arsenal player. Even more so since it’s been revealed that the 12-month loan he signed with Atletico Madrid does not include a buy option at the end. On the face that may seem worrying, but it could be an advantage in the end with a potential bidding war on the Gunners’ hands. Whatever the outcome, a permanent 2021 departure looks most likely.
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So, what memories would he leave behind?
Some players enjoyed legendary careers that were crowned by single moments – Fabio Cannavaro’s 2006 World Cup final appearance for one – and while Torreira is obviously not in that stratosphere, one three-second snippet of his timeline has him etched in Arsenal folklore forever.
We all know what.
2018/19 was a year of hope that ultimately concluded with a nose-dive into the abyss. Another one to add to the ‘best forgotten’ list. Due to that, any instance that can be salvaged from that escalating car crash of a season must be cherished. Victory over Tottenham is always savoured, but that comeback win in December felt extra special when it was capped off by Torreira’s uncharacteristic strike.
For whatever reason, the holding midfielder wanted to surge into Tottenham box 13 minutes from time. An opportunistic ploy that Unai Emery probably used as vindication to continue playing him as a ball-winning No. 10.
But we’re so glad Torreira took it upon himself at this moment. Having led from the spot, Spurs’ comeback before half time had the Emirates muted. A tactical shift at half time proved one of Emery’s crowning achievements, with the turnaround complete after Alexandre Lacazette’s goal 15 minutes from time.
The team played with a passion embodied by the fiery midfielder. Every ball was harried and every touch applauded by the home support. Victory would have unequivocally produced the best day of the year.
That late decision to foray into the box, fed by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and finished with striker-esque composure was, and still is, spine-tingling. The stadium erupted into a cacophony of jubilation. The freezing temperatures were forgotten about, none more so than for Torreira, who ripped his shirt off and celebrated wildly in the corner.
Players we’d rather forget about, Mikaël Silvestre, for example, still leave a lasting imprint if they score against Spurs. Torreira’s early Arsenal form may not have been sustained – for one reason or another – but that goal, on that freezing night, against them won’t leaves memories that won’t dissipate in quite the same manner.
Thank you for that, Lucas.