With Bukayo Saka’s return this week, Arsenal are waiting for just two senior players to make their comebacks, and the most confusing one is Lucas Torreira.
As we covered earlier today, Bukayo Saka is back in training with Arsenal, leaving just two senior players to return to action. That’s if you exclude Gabriel Magalhaes, who is yet to return due to injury, rather than a holiday or international participation.
The remaining two are Gabriel Martinelli and Lucas Torreira. With Martinelli, the situation is clear. He’s at the Olympics with Brazil, he may well play in the final on Saturday, I don’t think anyone can have any complaints about that.
But with Torreira, the situation initially seems a bit bizarre. Uruguay were knocked out of Copa America on July 3rd, one day after Granit Xhaka and Switzerland exited Euro 2020, yet he’s still not back at Arsenal.
A couple of days ago, Torreira got on a plane to leave Uruguay, but not to travel to England. Instead, he made the trip to Madrid, which is where he’s now training individually.
The suggested explanation is that Torreira had to make his return via Spain because Uruguay is currently on the UK government’s red list.
If so, that makes sense, though you do wonder why he got an extra week compared to Xhaka and others like Bernd Leno in the first place. If he’d returned on the same schedule as them, he would have been in Madrid a week ago.
Given this is a player that played less than 1,100 minutes of football in 2020/21 for both club and country, the extended absence seems very unlikely to be related to fatigue.