The year of 2018 has been one of radical change for Arsenal FC following the departure of Arsene Wenger.
So far so good. The transition into the post-Wenger era under Unai Emery has largely been a resounding success. Defeat at St Mary’s on Sunday afternoon served as a telling reminder of the existence of the defensive frailties which have yet to be ironed out under the Spaniard, and a 2-0 loss in the north London derby further compounded the lingering misery from the weekend.
However, two poor results should not cloud what has otherwise been a season of progress.
Emery’s rise to popularity has arrived due to his infectious managerial style and the continuation of the exciting possession-based philosophy which Arsenal are universally renowned for. Summer signings, though, have also played their part, with the arrival of Lucas Torreira (valued at £49.5 million by Transfermarkt) standing out as a particularly game-changing signing.
The combative midfielder blends brains with brawn to excellent effect in the heart of midfield, and his accomplishments in 2018, at Arsenal and elsewhere, have earned him esteemed praise from The Guardian journalist Amy Lawrence.
‘A whirlwind year for the little Uruguayan. He evolved from a much-loved centrepiece at Sampdoria in Serie A, via a stellar series of performances that turned him into a starter for his country during the World Cup, to a hugely influential cult figure at Arsenal.’
Torreira was named as the 93rd best male footballer of 2018 by The Guardian, and his exponential development throughout the years suggests he could rise into the top-50 if he continues on his upward trajectory in 2019.
Arsenal have been crying out for a new midfield lynchpin to boss the midfield for as long as they can remember. Those appeals were consistently in vain under Wenger, but Emery appears to have found a true gem to finally end a predictable narrative in north London.
Perhaps the most auspicious factor about Torreira’s ability to immediately settle to life in the Premier League is that he is only 22-years-old, and his scope for potential points towards a glowing future for both club and country.
Such is the enormity of his impact at the Emirates Stadium, it’s already safe to say the decision to sign Torreira for £27 million will go down as one of the signings of the season.
Arsenal fans – thoughts on Torreira’s potential? Let us know below!
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