Jonathan Norcroft believes that Lucas Torreira is the ‘signing of the season’ beating out Liverpool’s Xherdan Shaqiri.
“Signing of the season? It’s a tough one, I think [Xherdan] Shaqiri is having an influence on the title race that for £12m is pretty good,” Norcroft said on the Football Writers podcast.
“But he’s not a main player, you’ve got to recognise that he’s not come in and become a central player, maybe Lucas Torreira, which given the position he’s in is one of the hardest ones to sign for and players are costing so much money in centre midfield.
“I think he was £29m, something like that, it wasn’t like he was a mystery, he was performing for Uruguay and then in Sere A.
“But it just looks like a brilliant spot, and what he’s got that I didn’t know he had was the footballing ability that you knew he was going to be a terrier in that Uruguay mode but he’s a real footballer as well.”
Torreira arrived in London for £29m from Sampdoria and set about making himself an instant fan favourite.
He then admitted he didn’t expect to be moving to Arsenal this summer, and he thought the only interest in him came from Italy.
Torreira’s signing generated a lot of buzz amongst Arsenal supporters, particularly after he had such an impressive World Cup. Since then he’s lived up to the hype and more, providing a few massive goals and assists, winning Man of the Match awards for fun, and adding some much-wanted steel to the defensive midfield position.
Back in May, the 22-year-old had no idea this is where he would end up, as all the transfer talk centred around Serie A.
“At the end of my last season at Sampdoria there were lots of teams being talked about,” Torreira said. “I never imagined coming here to England because it was mainly Italian clubs being mentioned.
“Before I left for the World cup I got a call from the coach which was a massive surprise for me. I knew that I had earned it because of all my hard work and everything that I had done. That phone call made me a happy man.
“It allowed me to relax too because it allowed me to focus all my attention on the national team and the World Cup. I’m so proud to be part of such an important team.”
Arsenal fans had to wait for a bit longer for confirmation that the midfielder would indeed be moving to North London. It was July 10th by the time the club officially announced the move. It’s hard to argue he wasn’t worth the wait though.
As well as putting in good individual performances, Torreira has also had a noticeable effect on Granit Xhaka. The Swiss international has really come into his own alongside his Uruguayan teammate, and the Arsenal team looks better with the two of them in it.
The best players improve those around them, and that’s exactly what Torreira is doing.