Tag Archives: Lucas Torreira

Arsenal’s Messy Numbers, Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez, and Jean Michael Seri

Messy Numbers

Lucas Torreira finally joined Arsenal yesterday and took the number 11 shirt. This caused a lot of fuss from traditionalists who dream of the days when players wore 1-11.

11 was always associated with a winger. We then have Bernd Leno, our number 1 for next season set to wear number 19.

Mohamed Elneny, who is unlikely to start, has the number 4 shirt, whilst Granit Xhaka, who is likely to start, wears 34.

And the less said about Joe Willock wearing 69 the better. Grow up son.

I guess at least it is not William Gallas wearing the sacred number 10. That is now on the shoulder of Mesut Ozil.

And we have a proper full back wearing number 2 in Hector Bellerin. It always looked odd with Aboue Diaby in that shift.

If Cech go’s, maybe Leno will move to number 1?

I just do not like it.

Cristiano Ronaldo & Riyad Mahrez

Yesterday Juventus sign Real Madrid forward for Cristiano Ronaldo for £99.2m.

Prior to the deal, the record transfer fee for a 33 year old was when Manchester City spent £16m on Claudio Bravo.

I can see why Ronaldo has moved; he is guaranteed winning the Serie A at least once with Juventus which will put him into an exclusive group of players who have won the league in England, Italy and Spain.

With his recent tax case, Ronaldo is set for a huge windfall in the later end of his career. €120,000,000 over 4 Years is the reported salary.

Some will say that he will earn that back for Juventus in shirt sales, but that is a fallacy as Juventus do not get a percentage of global shirt sales – they only profit o nwhat they sell in their own shop.

It just seems odd for Juventus to be spending that much on a 33 year old.

As for Riyad Mahrez, whilst the £60m is not a huge sum in this day and age – and he is probably worth it – it is incredible that Manchester City have spent the same on one player as Arsenal have on 4

What is even more incredible is that Manchester City already have Raheem Sterling (£44m), Bernard Silva (£43m) and Leroy Sane (£37m) in their squad. They have broken their transfer record on a player who probably will not start week in week out for them.

The signing also continues Pep Guardiola’s incredible spending since joining Manchester City.

Jean Michael Seri

The deal taking Jean Michael Seri from Nice to Fulham is an odd one.

After being linked with both Arsenal and Chelsea for the last 24 months for over £30m, to then join Fulham for reportedly half that just feels strange.

It reminds me of in days gone past when Javier Mascherano and Carlos Tevez joined West Ham out of no-where.

Why was he so cheap and why did he join Fulham?

My guess is that the interest from Arsenal and Chelsea disappeared. Neither club wanting to spend on a soon-too-be 27 year old whose hype is perhaps well above his ability.

Seri has been compared a lot to N’Golo Kante, but the feeling was always that this was because he was short, African and played in France; rather than him actually being similar to the Frenchman . Kante was also just 24 when he came to the Premier League.

You have to think his agent has forced through the move, knowing that time is running down for his client to make a big money move to the Premier League. That he had to go now to secure that big signing on percentage.

It will be interesting to see if Seri lives up to the hype in England, or if he justifies why Arsenal and Chelsea decided not to go for him.



Arsenal’s shift transfer policy from experience to youth

The first few signings of the Sven Mislintat & Raul Sanllehi reign drew criticism from some people.

A few moaned that the likes of Pierre-Emirck Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan were not the type of players they were expecting Mislintat to sign.

Senior pros who bought with them quality and experience, the criticism Mislintat drew for recruiting them was odd, especially taking into account Aubameyang’s electric start to his Arsenal career.

As the current transfer window opened, Arsenal were heavily linked with Sokratis, another Dortmund player. Another player closer to 30 than 25. Again, some outlets criticised, claiming that the German Head of Recruitment needs to “do more than sign his former Dortmund players”.

Mislintat was criticised for showing a “lack of imagination” in the transfer market. The recruitment of Stephan Lichtsteiner on a free transfer added to the criticism. He was simply not bought in to buy a 34-year-old right back.

At Dortmund, Mislintat gained the nickname “diamond eye” due to his reputation for unearthing unheard of young talent from around the globe. From Shinji Kagawa recruited from the Japanese J League all the way through to Ousmane Dembélé from Rennes in France.

Instead of criticise, Mislintat should have actually been praised for showing flexibility.

Arsenal lacked experience and leadership at the back, Mislintat recognised this and recruited Sokratis and Lichtsteiner. He also added Bernd Leno to the squad – who despite being just 26 has played over 360 games.

Mislintat has added experience to the side, and that is something that should be praised, not criticised.

Amongst the criticism by a few, it was forgotten that we also recruited Konstantinos Mavropanos in January.

The Greek international looked quality in his first two games against Manchester United and Burnley, but was unlucky to be sent off in the last game of the season against Leicester City. Mavropanos might become a superstar, he might not, but he is an early example of that diamond eye.

After the recruitment of senior professional to add experience, leadership and top end quality to the squad, the club have now shifted the focus to signing younger, talented players. The types of signings Mislintat made his reputation on in Dortmund.

Lucas Torreira is exactly the type of player Mislintat was recruiting for Dortmund.

Whilst he has burst onto the world stage with some impressive performances for Uruguay at the World Cup, prior to the World Cup he was an unknown with just a handful of caps for his country.

Some will point to 2 excellent seasons for Sampdoria, but let’s be honest, who actually watched him play? And if you did watch Sampdoria, it is unlikely that you will have picked up on him as he is an invisible wall.

At just 22, he is young and exciting. Exactly what Mislintat’s diamond eye is trained to find.

Younger than Torreira is 19-year-old Matteo Guendouzi.

Clearly one of Mislintat’s targets this summer was to recruit young central midfielders.

With Jack Wilshere departing and Aaron Ramsey’s contract still up in the air, Mislintat and Sanllehi clearly decided to go for exciting youth, rather than lumbering experience.

The easy option would have been to go out and get Steven Nzonzi from Sevilla.The former Stoke City and Blackburn midfielder turns 30 in December.

Torreira is one for now, who has an exciting future. Guendouzi – alongside Ainsley Maitland-Niles – is certainly one for the future.

Expect the French youth international to get plenty of game time in the Europa League and League Cup. With a year’s first team experience in Ligue 1, he is ready to join up with the first team squad. As the next 12 months rolls on, he will begin to get more game time and is a potential long-term replacement for Aaron Ramsey.

The shift in Arsenal’s transfer policy from the experience leaders to younger talented stars is set to continue with the club likely to complete the signing of 16 year old striker Sam Greenwood from Sunderland.

Greenwood scored six goals and provided six assists in 15 appearances for Sunderland in the under-18 Premier League last season. And recently posted a picture on his Instagram story from outside Arsenal’s London Colney training ground.

Arsenal have reportedly beaten Manchester United and Liverpool to his signature.

Another youngster looking set to join Arsenal’s youth set up is Barcelona’s 15-year-old full back Joel Lopez.

The 15-year-old defender has been playing for Barcelona’s Cadeta A side and had the opportunity to sign a new deal with the La Liga giants this summer.

However, widespread reports suggest Lopez is set to sign schoolboy terms with Arsenal before agreeing to a professional deal when he turns 16 in March 2019 after his family had a meeting with Raul Sanllehi.

Without wishing to hype up the likes of Guendouzi, Greenwood and Lopez too much, what is exciting is that we are once more securing top young talents from throughout Europe.

In recent years we have struggled to sign the best teenagers across the continent, and have fallen behind the likes of Manchester City and Chelsea in terms of quality of graduates produced.

The fact that City were heavily linked to Guendouzi, Manchester United and Liverpool wanted Greenwod, and Liverpool and Chelsea were reportedly in for Lopez shows just how well respected Sanllehi & Mislintat are.

As the pair continue to rebuild the squad alongside Unai Emery, we will continue to see a mix of experienced professionals and talented youngsters. There is a lot to be positive about at Arsenal at the moment.


Arsenal set to complete double midfield signing

Arsenal’s recruitment drive is set to continue this week with the arrivals of both Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi.

The deal for Uruguayan defensive midfielder Torreira has been completed for some time, with the delay being Arsenal awaiting the end of the World Cup to announce the deal.

One of the stars of Uruguay’s World Cup campaign, 22 year old Torreira has massively impressed at the tournament.

The signing will be seen as a bit of a coup for Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi as interest would have gone through the roof after his World Cup performances.

Expected to join the soon-to-be former Sampdoria midfielder at Arsenal is 19 year old Mattéo Guendouzi from Lorient for £7m.

The French youth international broke into the Lorient side last season.

The likes of Torreira and Guendouzi are the sort of talents Sven Mislintat was bought to Arsenal to uncover.

Both are young, gifted players who had very little reputation before being linked with Arsenal.

Mislintat’s first few recruits added quality and experienced to the top end of the squad – Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

This summer has seen the policy of signing experience continue with Stephan Lichtsteiner, Bernd Leno and Sokratis joining the club. Torreira and Guendouzi show a shift to younger players.

Mislintat clearly identifies a lack of leadership and experience at the back; and a need to recruit young players in the middle of the park.

After chasing Yacine Adli, clearly a teenage central midfielder with some size to him was on Arsenal’s shopping list. Guendouzi is that man.

Whilst it is not expected that Guendouzi will compete for a first team place straight away, he will train with the senior squad and get game time in the Europa League and League Cup.

It is unlikely that Torreira and Guendouzi will be the end of Arsenal’s new player recruitment.