Done: Arsenal sign second best midfielder in Europe

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

Torreira moved to Arsenal this summer, 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 Arsenal fans to hear, because gaps opening up in midfield and allowing counter-attacks has consistently 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.

The 22-year-old returns to Arsenal for pre-season preparations next week, so with any luck he’ll be available to help out against Manchester City’s often blistering attack, on the first day of the Gunners’ Premier League season.

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