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Paul Merson has hailed the impact of Lucas Torreira at Arsenal, but believes the summer signing from Sampdoria has benefited hugely from one of Arsene Wenger’s biggest errors. The Uruguay international has featured prominently at the heart of Unai Emery’s midfield engine room and been taken to the hearts of Arsenal fans on account of his combative style and work rate. Torreira claimed the club’s player of the month award for November having scored two goals in his last three matches, including last weekend’s late winner against Huddersfield. Merson admits he has been impressed by the 22-year-old’s performances but insists he wouldn’t be getting such rave reviews had Wenger addressed a gaping deficiency in his side sooner and claims none of the top four would be looking to sign him were he available in January.
He told Sky Sports: ‘Liverpool wouldn’t buy him tomorrow morning, I wouldn’t have thought any of the top four would. He can and will get better, but he’s done great. ‘They needed it, we all knew that, Arsene Wenger knew it but he was too stubborn to go and get someone. ‘He could be playing at Southampton and wouldn’t get a mention, or Burnley. No-one would mention it. It’s just that Arsenal needed it so badly. ‘He gets around people, closes players down, gets everybody fighting. He’s not a natural passer, but he sets the tempo.