Lucas Torreira’s former coach Marcello Donatelli claimed the Uruguayan is one of the most intelligent players in Europe from a tactical standpoint.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - JULY 21: Lucas Torreira of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal FC at Villa Park on July 21, 2020 in Birmingham, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Rui Vieira/Pool via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – JULY 21: Lucas Torreira of Arsenal looks on during the Premier League match between Aston Villa and Arsenal FC at Villa Park on July 21, 2020 in Birmingham, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Rui Vieira/Pool via Getty Images)

Torreira moved to Arsenal in the summer of 2018, but he’s been playing football in Europe since 2013. First for the Pescara youth team, followed by the first team, then Sampdoria on a permanent transfer, before a season-long loan spell back with Pescara again in 2015/16.

During that loan back to Torreira’s former club, Donatelli was assistant manager, and he heaped the praise on the midfielder in an interview with Sky Sports.

“His technique, his determination and his tactical intelligence always impressed me,” Donatelli said. “He has always been strong in understanding those defensive tactical aspects and he is very mature tactically in terms of how he reads the game.

“He can cope with the gaps that emerge in midfield with great intelligence and he covers very well. He is the one who corrects the spaces and cuts out the passes between the lines in the defensive phase.

“After Sergio Busquets, he is tactically the strongest midfielder in Europe.”

That will be very encouraging for Torino fans to hear amd Torreira closes in on a €24m move back to Italy having been wasted at Arsenal despite the gaps that regularly opened up in midfield to allow counter-attacks which has been a major concern for the club in recent seasons.

We’ve seen the difference just one midfielder can make in this regard, for example with N’Golo Kante at Leicester City. Someone who is alert to the danger and cuts it out before the move gets going. Unfortunately, Arsenal lacked a player of the same mould, and certainly of the same quality as Torreira, but for some Emery-shaped reason, he was not able to become the player we thought we’d bought.

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