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ARSENAL midfielder Lucas Torreira believes Granit Xhaka is a vital cog in Unai Emery’s side.
Torreira, a summer arrival from Sampdoria, was expected to take the Switzerland international’s spot in the team but they appear to be Emery’s preferred duo in the engine room.
Xhaka, 26, has struggled to win over Gooners following his £30m move from Borussia Monchengladbach in 2016.
But Torreira believes his midfield partner in crime does not get the credit he deserves.
“Granit is a player that I link up a lot with in the midfield and he covers lot of ground on the pitch,” the Arsenal new boy said.
“He occupies space really well and is important to the defensive balance of the team, which the manager knows.
“He’s an outlet for the first pass from defence and frustrates the opposition’s attackers.
“When he’s playing well, the team are going to win games.
“We’re gaining points and me and him are playing minutes together and gaining experience together, which is important.”
Torreira, who stands at 5ft 5in, was eased into the team by Emery in the opening weeks of the campaign but has made a big impression.
He is already a fans’ favourite, but Torreira is loving life off the pitch.
“Moving to London has been completely new for me — it’s another country, another culture, another way of life,” he told the Standard.
“I’m quite a normal guy, very natural.
“I spend a lot of time training, but I’ve made the most of my free time to explore the city a bit.
“There are lots of new things, but I’m looking forward to spending a lot of time here.
“The biggest challenge has probably been the climate, but I like playing in the toughest league in the world.”
Torreira is expected to start tomorrow’s Premier League clash against Liverpool.