Tag Archives: Lucas Torreira

Should Arsenal sell Lucas Torreira?

Good recruitment is the reason why Liverpool are in the title race.

They do not bring in as much commercial revenue as Manchester United, do not have the gate receipts of Arsenal, and their owners do not put billions in like Manchester City. They have built a title challenging team based on good recruitment and good coaching.

Good recruitment is by just about the players you buy; but also the players you sell.

Over the last 5 years, Arsenal and Liverpool have a very similar net spend. Rough figures are:

Arsenal: £255m

Liverpool: £211m

Yet in those 5 years, Liverpool have had a total expenditure of nearly £200m more than Arsenal:

Arsenal: £434m

Liverpool: £633m

There higher expenditure has come due to generating nearly £250m in sales.

One thing that has held Arsenal back in the transfer market is an inability to raise funds through player sales. Meanwhile Liverpool have commanded eye watering transfer fees for some assets.

Arsenal have struggled due to having too many average players on high wages that other teams do not want.

Lucas Perez is an example of that.

Cost £35m on a high wage, we let him go to West Ham for just £4m after 2 seasons. A loss of £31m.

This summer we are set to lose Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech, David Ospina and Aaron Ramsey I’m free transfers.

Average players only tell half the story though.

Whilst Liverpool have got good prices for some average players (£27m for Christian Benteke, £18m for Danny Ings, £12.5m for Danny Ward, £24m for Mamadou Sakho, £4m for Kevin Stewart) they have also taken the risk by selling off key assets.

This Liverpool side began to be built in January 2013 when they signed talented but struggling Brazilian Philippe Coutinho for just £8.5m. It was a deal that in the early days Arsene Wenger would have done.

18 months after his signing saw the club take a huge risk by selling Luis Suarez.

By risk, it was king of out of their hands. After the Arsenal fiasco a year earlier, Suarez forced their hand and Barcelona got their man – signing the Uruguayan for £65m. A nice profit meaning the club had a good chunk of change in their pocket.

A year later they signed the likes of Roberto Firminho, James Milner, Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne.

Other transfer dealings did not go as well (the aforementioned Benteke & Ings, Mario Balotelli). But in the majority of cases when a player didn’t work out, they still managed to make a profit on them. Even if it was a slight one.

This kept the money rolling in. The coffers filled up to continue improving their squad.

In 2016, they somehow managed to raise £76.5m in player sales. A lot of average out of the door. These were replaced by £62m of incoming players.

They signed the likes of Georgino Wijnaldum and Sadio Mane and still made a profit.

This smart recruitment, buying low and selling high, meant that in the summer of 2017 they were able to splash out on Mo Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Andy Robertson. And the. The second huge risk came.

Having already sold their best player to Barcelona a few years earlier – and reinvesting that money wisely – they did it again in January 2018.

8th January 2018 Liverpool sold Coutinho for a reported £105m. Nearly £100m profit.

This money enabled Jurgen Klopp and his team to buy the final pieces of the puzzle. Virgil van Dijk for £70m and Alisson for £55m.

Being smart in the transfer window meant that the summer of 2018, they spent £170m yet only bought in £15m from player sales.

The money had built up over previous transfer windows – where they were able to turn a profit and still improve the squad.

We are nearing the end of 2018 and they now sit top of the league. Selling Suárez, selling Coutinho, is now justified.

So back to London.

As mentioned, a huge problem for Arsenal is the lack of sellable assets. Or it was a huge problem before Sven Mislintat came in and recruited the likes of Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

It is the first man on that list that makes you think.

Manchester City are crying out for a long term replacement for Fernandinho. Torreira would be the ideal player for them. Arsenal could easily command £100m for the Uruguayan next summer.

Should Arsenal follow Liverpool’s lead; sell a couple of the top players for huge prices which enables further investment in the squad.

The question you need to ask is: Do you trust Sven?

If we sold Torreira for £100m, could he replace Torreira, and get in 3 or 4 more players that improve the overall squad?

We turn a profit in the transfer market, building funds up for a “big summer” like Liverpool did prior to the start of this season, but improve the entire squad at the same time.

Sacrificing one player to buy four.

Of course, it can go wrong.

Many of the players Liverpool signed after Suárez struggled – although they made a profit on them. And Tottenham’s attempts to replace Gareth Bale after selling him for £90m were hilarious. But that’s why it comes back to the question.

Do you trust Sven?

For the (mythical) £100n we get for Torreira, could Sven recruit his replacement for similar to what we bought him for (~£25m). Could he then go out and buy a £35m central defender and a £40m winger? I think he could.

A lot of people will say “you don’t build a winning team if you sell your best players”.

That in part is true. But you can build a winning team if you sell one of your best players, and with that money buy 3 additional equally as good players.

Sell one; get 3.

What about if a side offers £30m for Matteo Guendouzi? Or £30m for Bernd Leno? Should Arsenal consider these?

I am not saying we should go out and sell Torreira to a rival; but it is clear from what Liverpool have done that sometimes you need to sell one piece in the jigsaw to buy 3 more.

Keeping Torreira in the short term might be beneficial for Arsenal, but in the long term, selling him and signing 3 could go a long way to building a title challenging team.

In hindsight, in the summer of 2017 we perhaps should have accepted bids for Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez. Raised nearly £150m between them; and reinvested that…

Keenos

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5 changes Unai Emery needs to make at Arsenal

Return to 4 at the back

I have never been a fan of 3 at the back.

It puts too much onus on the full backs, less to too much space in behind them and not enough cover in front.

To play 3 at the back you need your wide centre backs to be comfortable at full back.

Tottenham can do it as in Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweild, they have two central defenders who have previously played full back.

Arsenal need to return to 4 at the back.

Play Xhaka/Torreira in the middle

The axis of Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira is the best central midfield pairing in the Premier League.

The pair compliment each other. Both can defend, both can pass.

Torreira has allowed Xhaka to push further up the park, allowing him to be his aggressive self on the half way line. The Uruguayan also gives us that extra bit of protection when Xhaka miss reads a tackle or pass.

Both also have tremendous ability on the ball. Playing the pair gives the defence and goal keeper 2 options when playing out from the back. It is no surprise our passing is a lot better when both play.

Ultimately, the statistics speak for themselves:

Sign genuine width

Alex Iwobi is not good enough to play week in, week out. Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang are not natural wide men. Arsenal need to invest in a pair of wide forwards.

Playing 4 at the back, with Xhaka and Torreira in the middle, Arsenal have a stable base and centre. Add two wide men either side of a number 10 and the team is starting to take shape.

In the early part of the season, we were a threat in behind the opponents fulls backs. This was due to Iwobi and Aubameyang getting in behind – or making space for Bellerin and Monreal to get in behind.

With Iwobi and Mkhitaryan playing narrow, we lose all width and cover for the full backs.

Reiss Nelson returns in the summer. We need someone one the left hand side.

Decide his best striker

A tough decision needs to be made up top.

We have two top class strikers who broke our transfer record. Unai Emery needs to decide who his first choice is; and stick to it.

Do not panic

We have just lost our first game after going 22 unbeaten. We are in the race for 4th and progressing nicely in Europe.

Against Southampton we were a defensive mess. We were without our 3 first choice centre backs and started the game with a midfielder and a right back in central defence.

At the final whistle the only two defenders on the pitch have not started a league game for a combined 12 months.

There is not need to panic. No need to be rash in the transfer market.

Emery is here for the long term. Sanllehi and Mislintat have a long term vision. There is no need to rip that up just because we lost 1 game.

Keenos

How would long-term Arsenal target Adrien Rabiot fit in?

Long term reported Arsenal target Adrien Rabiot has announced that he is set to leave PSG on a free transfer at the end of the season.

The 23-year-old central midfielder was linked with Arsenal over 6 years ago; when he was just a 17-year-old who had yet to play a game.

Over the years, he has been in and out of the PSG team and missed out on France’s World Cup success after refusing to be put on the reserve list.

A tall, elegant central midfielder, he has never really fulfilled his potential that he showed as a teenager – with PSG preferring the midfield partnership of Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti as he struggled to break through.

Last season under Unai Emery he played 50 games – starting 27 in the league and 8 in the Champions League.  He has continued to be first choice under Thomas Tuchel.

With Aaron Ramsey set to leave Arsenal as a free transfer, Arsenal could well see Rabiot is an indirect replacement.

Signing Rabiot would mean that Arsenal could cash in on Mohamed Elneny and line up with midfield options of:

Grant Xhaka
Lucas Torreira
Adrien Rabiot
Matteo Guendouzi
Ainsley Maitland-Niles

It would be an exciting group of central midfielders with plenty of strength and would more than cover Emery’s preference of playing 2 deep midfielders; with one out and out defensive and the other box-to-box in his favoured 4231 formation.

A sticking point would be as to what role Rabiot would play.

Emery has previously spoken about Rabiot being a defensive midfielder rather than a box-to-box; with the Frenchman believing he is more box-to-box.

Emery said: “Let’s talk about Rabiot. He’s a central midfielder, who is more comfortable playing as a defensive midfielder rather than a creative one. Even if he remains more of box-to-box, rather than a defensive midfielder.

“When you want to play with a defensive, creative and box-to-box-midfielders in fixed positions, Rabiot finds himself confronted to a problem. He has to run, run, run and not play in a fixed position statically. And even less so with his back turned on the action.

“Rabiot doesn’t really like playing as a defensive midfielder, he likes playing as a box-to-box, but I prefer him as a defensive midfielder. That’s why after the elimination against Real Madrid [in the 2017/18 Champions League], I told him he would play as a defensive midfielder.

“In that position, he can be faced with play and switch around with [Marco] Verratti. He is more competitive in these conditions. With certain players, you can’t impose a strict idea. You have to adapt yourself to their characteristics in order to win in individual and collective competitiveness.”

Another sticking point could be salary.

BeIN Sport reported earlier this month that Rabiot had turned down a new contract for a third time, with PSG reportedly offering him £6.32m a year to remain with the Ligue 1 champions. That works out to a little over £120,000 a week.

Granit Xhaka is reportedly on £90,000 a week; Lucas Torreira on £75,000 a week.

All 3 players are equally as talented, and would be in a fair fight for the 2 central midfield roles. What would it do to squad harmony if we bought Rabiot in on twice as much money (potentially) as Lucas Torreira?

Some will say that Rabiot is superior to Xhaka and therefore justifies the higher salary. However Emery is unlikely to see it that way.

Xhaka is box-to-box in the current set up, with Torreira as the more defensive option. Rabiot would more likely be competing with Torreira to play behind Xhaka.

Regardless, all 3 are close when it comes to their talent. To have vastly different salaries could be dangerous.

As seen, Rabiot would not be guaranteed a starting place at Arsenal. Himself, Xhaka and Torreira would be rotated – so would all still get plenty of game time. Would Rabiot go from regular starter at PSG to rotational starter at Arsenal?

A move for Rabiot would be a positive one for Arsenal. There are plenty of minutes to accommodate 3 top class midfielders and still find enough time to bleed through Matteo Guendouzi.

Guendouzi is still just 19 and would not have expected to have played so much this season – 9 starts in total in the league. He is still developing and is not yet at the standard of Rabiot, Torreira or Xhaka.

You can easily see a situation that in 3 years time, Arsenal cash in on a then 29-year-old Xhaka and promote Guendouzi. He will still be just 22-years-old (the same age as England’s next big talent Harry Winks is now!).

Guendouzi, Xhaka, Ramsey & Torreira have started 44 league games between them this season; so it is clear that there are plenty of games to go around.

The one loser would be Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but he would still have a future at the club.

Firstly he is a home-grown talent; which is very important. Secondly he can cover central midfield, left and right back, and is competent on the flanks.

Maitland-Niles is still just 21. He would get plenty of game time in the cups and would get the odd league game. His future at Arsenal is as a utility man.

Would I sign Rabiot on a free? Yes

Keenos