Lucas Torreira is “very close to Atletico Madrid” according to ESPN Uruguay. The Arsenal midfielder has been in the shop window since the transfer period opened, and until recently, it looked as if he was headed to Italy, likely Torino or Fiorentina. But there were reports last week that Atleti head coach Diego Simeone had contacted Torreira to communicate his interest in securing his services.
ESPN cites “a source close to the player” for their report, so it could be that what’s “very close” is an agreement on personal terms. It’s not clear that there has been any contact between Arsenal and Atleti about Torreira. Although given the Gunners’ interest in Thomas Partey, I’d assume the two clubs have at least been in contact recently. Torreira’s name might have come up.
A switch to a Simeone-coached team might be just what Torreira needs to get things back on track. He’s fallen down the pecking order at Arsenal because he doesn’t have the on-ball skills to play as part of Mikel Arteta’s double pivot. He excelled in Italy in more of a single, holding role, and perhaps the more defensively-minded Simeone could find a way to capitalize on Torreira’s defensive strengths.
The problem is Atleti reportedly want Torreira on a loan with no obligation to buy, which isn’t that attractive of an option for Arsenal. Torreira isn’t on massive wages so it wouldn’t be a large cost savings (like mutually terminating Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s contract was), and the Gunners need the cash that a full sale would generate. Torreira would likley command somewhere in the £20-25M range, which when combined with the cash from the Emi Martinez sale, and whatever the club may have on hand, could be enough to swing a bigger move for midfield reinforcements.