Lucas Torreira is the midfield player that Arsenal have been crying out for, club legend Martin Keown has argued.
The Uruguay international arrived at the club in the summer from Sampdoria but has been forced to be patient to earn a start in Unai Emery’s side as Matteo Guendouzi’s strong early season form saw him initially get the nod.
However, Torreira’s performance for the Gunners against Everton on Sunday – the first time he has played 90 minutes for his new club – provoked glowing praise from the former England centre-back.
“I liked what I saw today,” Keown said on BBC’s ‘Match of the Day 2’. “He played in the World Cup for Uruguay. He didn’t start the competition but grew into the tournament. It’s the same story with Arsenal.
“I like the way he goes in. He pinches things. He brings that little bit of tenacity to the midfield and is more mobile. Uses the ball well; distributes it nice and calmly. He puts his foot in and I think Arsenal fans were up off their seats today to see that. That’s what they need in that midfield.”
Keown believes that the 22-year-old will help to get the best out of Granit Xhaka, whose ill-discipline has been a problem at times. However, with some of the defensive burden taken off the Switzerland international, it should allow him to thrive.
“Xhaka often over-commits and makes the foul,” he said. “Torreira can actually get to the ball and make those tackles.
“He’ll grow in confidence now and I see him being an integral part of that Arsenal midfield.”
After losing their opening couple of league matches of the season against Manchester City and Chelsea, Emery’s side have climbed to sixth in the Premier League table off the back of four successive victories.
On Wednesday, they face a League Cup match against Brentford and are back in league action with a home fixture against Watford on Saturday. Before the October international break, they face a long trip to Qarabag in the Europa League then a London derby against Fulham at Craven Cottage.