Talk of Lucas Torreira joining AC Milan is intensifying.
The majority of the talk of his departure comes off the back of an interview with talkSPORT’s International presenter Alvaro Romeo
Romeo has interviewed Torreira on numerous occasions over the last 12 months, and he explained how Torreira has struggled to settle at the London club.
‘The language has cost me, to be able to relate with my peers and with the people. It is very difficult when you can’t have dialogue.’ Said Torreira
‘And so is the climate. You go out in the morning and it is cloudy, you arrive late to your home and it is cloudy.
‘It is strange a little bit, the sun, the more of us that we are here and we are accustomed to having always or almost always the sun.’
Whilst Uruguayans speak Spanish (according to Google), it is not a pure form of the language, and is also influenced by the Portuguese of Brazil and Italian language. The Portuguese influence is a variant of Rocha, with bilingualism or the fusion of Spanish and Portuguese, known as Portuñol.
So whilst Unai Emery and most of his staff speak Spanish, as well as Nacho Monreal, Hector Bellerin, Shkodran Mustafi and Mesut Ozil, they do not speak the exact same language.
In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Sokratis, Arsenal also have a few players that speak Italian.
The problem is football clubs are full of cliques.
At Arsenal the biggest clique is the Franco-German one, containing the likes of Aubameyang, Ozil, Mustafi, Sokratis, Alexandre Lacazette, Matteo Guendouzi, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Sead Kolašinac. Think back to nearly a year ago and “balloon gate” and those that were present.
This has meant that Torreira has perhaps felt isolated that many those who he could “relate to” would prefer to speak in German or French than Spanish.
You then have Bellerin who has been in England for so long he is basically a cockney.
Bellerin is a mysterious individual. There is always a feeling that he enjoys his own company, doing his own thing such as going to fashion shows. You rarely see or hear of him socialising with team mates, and it is clear his friendship group is not really football related, but with the Spanish community within London.
So the talk of Torreira struggling to settle probably has some legs in it.
Arsenal perhaps need to work harder at ensuring players do settle in England. Players struggling in their 1st year is not a new thing in football., and is certainly not just a problem Arsenal face.
Didier Drogba spoke brilliantly about his struggles to settle at Chelsea following a move from Marseille. It took him and his family a few years to settle and he had very little help from his club. As he became a senior player, Drogba went out of his way to ensure new signings had an arm round them and Chelsea developed a “new signings programme” based on Drogba’s advice.
In an interview back in 2009, Drogba said:
‘My family were feeling so good there so it was difficult for them to adapt here because of the difference between the language and everything.
‘But I think every player when they leave their country they need one year to adapt.
‘It took me one year so I think maybe one year is enough.’
It is nearly identical to what Torreira has said about Arsenal. Talking about the struggle to adapt, the language, the climate, everything.
Robert Pires struggled with life in England, but was surrounded by the likes of Patrick Vieira and Thierry Henry. Arsenal’s French clique at the time could often be found frequenting the coffee shops around Hampstead. Had Pires not had the support network around him, he stay at Arsenal would probably have been brief.
To ensure Torreira does settle, and is not swayed by a move abroad, Arsenal need to provide him the support required.
Whether that be instructing the likes of Bellerin and Monreal to look after him (maybe this is why Monreal got another year). The club could help Torreira is go into the transfer market and sign him a “friend”. A team mate who he could relate to, build his own clique around.
Arsenal have been linked with Dennis Praet and Joachim Andersen this summer – two players who were team mates of Torreira at Sampdoria.
At Liverpool, Luis Saurez was taken under the wing by Lucas Leiva to help him settle.
Those speculating about Torreira’s departure are only focusing on the first part of the quotes where he talks bout his struggle to settle. They ignore the 2nd part of the interview where he says:
‘But as the years pass, I’m going to be adapting.
‘But for me, the balance was positive and I am satisfied and happy with what I did in the year.’
AC Milan may well be chasing Torreira, and looking to exploit the fact that it has been a tough 1st year for him to adapt in England. But Torreira is speaking about the future at Arsenal and clearly understands that as time passes, he will adapt.
What is clear is that Torreira is not demanding to leave Arsenal as he is ‘homesick’ and Arsenal just need to ensure that they build a support network around him (and other new signings) to help them settle.
If this means going out and buying him some “friends” then so be it.