A report lately stated that Lucas Torreira has asked to leave.
Our Uruguayan offers a different edge compared to other midfielders we’ve had in recent years.
I like him – he’s combative and tenacious, and I feel we need to keep him if he is open to staying.
If not, he can go.
But then, either way, we need to get another Torreira (as it were) if he does leave.
I don’t want him to go, because he can be a lynchpin to help us challenge again.
A good midfield needs a balance.
The point of a midfield is to control the ball, create chances for strikers, and act as a link between defence and attack.
So the overall quality of a midfield must balance creativity, tenacity, energy, pace, and controlling/covering ground.
This balance is something we’ve lost in recent years, and something that has contributed to our bad defending lately.
Torreira as a ball-winner has added a much missing quality in this regard.
And his introduction in the team had provided us with a required element to help get our defence and midfield balance on track.
It’s vital then that, if he chooses to stay, we utilise him in his best mould.
I don’t think he is a natural DM. DMs for me don’t exist in the old school sense. Most midfielders at the top level are energetic but with differing qualities. Henderson at Liverpool has energy but good short passing. Winaldjum can work well in tight spaces and progress the ball, whilst de Bruyne has energy and great technical ability.
With the correct balance, he can prosper well, and be a mainstay for us for years to come.
I referenced balance in the point above.
But looking at other sides, our midfield balance has been poor by comparison with them.
Liverpool has the Ox, Winaldjum, Henderson, and Fabinho. they all provide varying qualities to them, as does even Lallana when included.
Spurs even rose to second place (but with no trophies) with Dembele, Alli, and Sissoko. Sissoko may not have shone much, but Dembele was a hard-working and strong CM who was a bedrock of their rise.
Man City have David Silva, de Bruyne and Fernandinho who all provide different energies, and this is something we need to mimic.
We had this in Wenger’s winning years – Vieira/Petit and Vieira/Gilberto were ideal in that Petit and Gilberto could tackle, pass and cover ground. Though Vieira was a tall, leggy, and rangy box to box player who marshalled the midfield with distinction. Edu, of course, added his own qualities here, and it was amongst other facets a major factor in our success.
If Torreira can be persuaded to stay, then it can solve our balance issues, if he is utilised properly.
Others need to go before Lucas….
I’m going to call out Xhaka here.
No, I don’t dislike him.
But then Xhaka to me isn’t really the mold of CM we need.
He’s a regista. He is a player who collects the ball and progresses play both long and short. His long-range passing is on point, and arguably his chief strength. and to be fair, we have not played to this strength.
His temperament and error-making don’t help him out. But for a player like Xhaka we need the supporting midfield which has seldom been arranged.
When he arrived, he had Ramsey and Ozil in the mid with him. Ramsey’s game was to get forward and score. Ozil evidently is a number 10, and looks to create around the final third. So if Xhaka himself isn’t concerned with covering ground or putting out fires, who then can defend adequately?
Xhaka really needs two hard workers around him to prosper, but for me he would go before Torreira.
Guendouzi is a hardworker, though his long-range passing is arguably as good as Xhaka’s. What he brings though is ball carrying, and taking the ball into the final third, which Xhaka doesn’t generally.
If our template should be a hardworking midfield with all necessary facets, then Xhaka doesn’t top the indispensables listing.
There are rumours of Partey coming in.
However, Partey and Torreira combined (along with Guendouzi or Willock) would shore things up immensely.
It would be a critical step in a proper midfield balance, and us getting back to challenging again.
If we cannot play both together, then fine. But it would be something to savour and would provide greater surety for the defence and our overall team structure.
If he goes, he goes.
If Torreira wishes to leave, then it’s no use keeping him.
Footballers are human and should be free to go wherever they feel happy or comfortable.
However, Torreira is a player whose supposed departure is a blow, if only since he can be a lynchpin in a renewed midfield plan and shape.
Is Torreira world-class? in my view, no. But he can be if he sustains god form over the long-term. He is a regular for Uruguay, and they are no slouches. they’ve won the most Copa Americas, and have won the World Cup twice (both before England’s sole triumph no less).
Let’s not forget that for his national side, he holds his own amongst Cavani, Suarez, and other world-class talents.
If he goes, I’ll miss him, because of his skill-set predominantly.
However, if he does go, then I wish him the best. it’s sad it wouldn’t have worked out. but if this means we can get Partey more easily, I won’t turn that down.