Arsenal will reportedly loan Lucas Torreira to Fiorentina this season, per football.london. The Uruguayan midfielder is expected to fly to Italy on Tuesday to complete the loan. It is not clear whether there is an obligation or just an option to buy at the the end of the loan term — I’ve seen both reported. Torreira has been training on his own at London Colney since his planned return to the club last week.
UPDATE: A few more details on the loan move.
Torreira spent last season on loan with Atletico Madrid, which was a mixed bag. He made 26 appearances in all competitions but couldn’t secure a consistent place in the side. He tested positive for COVID-19 in November and missed time. It just wasn’t quite right in Madrid, at least from the outside looking in.
Torreira was an instant hit with me and many Arsenal fans when he came to the club in 2018 from Sampdoria. He brought that bite and tenacity in the center of the park that the club sorely needed. That massive goal against Tottenham felt like the first step on the road to cult-hero status at the club. But he started to fall out of favor even before Unai Emery was sacked, and Mikel Arteta buried him way down the depth chart.
Torreira says that benching took a toll on him. Like many footballers, his identity and some of his self-worth is tied to football and his performance on the pitch. When that was taken away, he struggled. Fortunately, he started seeming a sports psychologist in Spain that he says “gave him a hand” with those struggles.
But moreso than anything that happened on the pitch, the loss of his mother to COVID-19 affected him.
When my mother’s thing happened, I wanted to stop playing soccer. I wanted to stay in Fray Bentos with my family. I had very little desire to go back to Spain because I had to stay alone there. Luckily one of my brothers left with me, but I wanted to be here, with my father, because he was the one who was suffering the most and the one who was hurt the most by this whole situation. He was always with my mother, they went everywhere together and today seeing him alone is a very hard blow that we find difficult to assimilate. And we try to be with him, to help him, accompany him and also hold him so that he does not fall. Because now we have to continue, for us, for him and because the most important reason to continue living is always going to be our mother.
I cannot begin to imagine the effect that losing a parent during your mid-20’s (or at any point in life) has on somebody. Add to that the prospect of being across an ocean from your friends and family and the isolation of living during COVID-19 quarantines / lockdowns. I’m impressed by Torreira’s strength and ability not to completely break down. I’m not sure I could manage the same under similar circumstances.
I hope the loan to Italy works out for Lucas. He’s fun to watch, and I’ll enjoy seeing him buzzing around the pitch, getting stuck in against Serie A opponents. Sidenote: Serie A is wild, you should definitely watch some this season.
It didn’t pan out for Torreira at Arsenal for a whole host of reasons, and that’s okay. Sometimes things (transfers) don’t work out. He deserves nothing but good things after being dealt a tough hand. Maybe Arsenal can get a decent fee on the option / obligation to buy next summer. And if they can’t, this feels like one of those situations where you let it slide because some things are more important than football clubs and money.