Arsenal legend Gilberto Silva had admitted he’s not sure whether Lucas Torreira is the solution to the club’s holding midfield problems.
At just £27m spread over three years for a 22-year-old, the Lucas Torreira deal seemed like one of the signings of the summer when the Uruguayan hit the ground running in the early part of this season. Recently, the midfielder has had to take a bit of a break, either coming on from the bench late or leaving the field early in half of his matches in 2019.
That’s what you expect from a player in his first season in English football, which is notoriously tougher thanks to the lack of a winter break. However, former Gunner Gilberto is unsure whether Torreira is the long-term solution to Arsenal’s midfield problems.
“Arsenal in the last few years have tried to find a player for this position, which is not so easy nowadays because football has changed a lot,” Gilberto told talkSPORT (via SambaFoot). “I have seen so many clubs play without this holding midfielder.
“At some point, it became not so important but then teams started to realise this player is important to the structure of the defensive part of the team. Now we have Kante – but he is out of position. At City, Fernandinho.
“Arsenal bought Torreira but the first season is quite hard for him. I don’t know if Arsenal have found the player to be the holding midfielder yet. I don’t think so, when I see their games compared to the other teams, when you compare to Fernandinho and Kante, I don’t see the same style of players.”
It’s fair to say Torreira hasn’t been quite as impressive in the last couple of months, but there are still plenty of performances that have shown his potential this season. The 4-2 win over Spurs is probably the one that springs to mind for most supporters, but he was similarly excellent in the home game against Liverpool.
When playing alongside Granit Xhaka in a pairing, Torreira shows his best form, and Arsenal get their best results. That hasn’t always been possible recently, whether thanks to Xhaka’s injury or the squad’s lack of wide options, forcing Emery to play an extra midfielder instead in much of December and January.
Hopefully, Torreira will prove his worth once again as soon as he’s back starting every game, and he gets over the standard mid-season slump for new signings.