Arsenal boss Unai Emery ‘did not want to sign Lucas Torreira’ last summer – he wanted former Sevilla star Steven Nzonzi instead

31 Aug

Arsenal manager Unai Emery wanted to sign his former Sevilla midfielder Steven Nzonzi instead of Lucas Torreira last summer, reports claim.

Uruguay international Torreira joined the Gunners from Italian club Sampdoria in a deal worth around £22million, and settled quickly with a series of impressive performances for the north Londoners.

Lucas Torreira came off the bench to score against Liverpool last weekend
Getty Images - Getty

His performances began to tail out in the second-half campaign, but Torreira won over Arsenal fans with his tenacity in the middle of the park.

And it appears he also won over his boss, who apparently had big concerns over the 23-year-old’s size and physicality in such a crucial position for his style of play.


Arsenal vs Spurs: Team news and predicted line-ups for north London derby


Instead, Emery wanted to bring 30-year-old France midfielder Nzonzi to the Emirates Stadium, according to The Athletic.

Emery worked with the former Blackburn and Stoke man at Sevilla and not only knew his abilities would suit his style at Arsenal but would also need little time to settle back into the Premier League due to his previous experience in England.

World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi spent six years in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City
getty

However, the London club’s transfer chiefs were not so keen given Nzonzi’s age and therefore his lack of sell-on value.

And so the recruitment team had to convince Emery to sign Torreira with a persuasive pitch, which featured his impressive figures for ‘ball recoveries, tackling, retaining possession and moving the game forwards quickly’.

It was enough to convince Emery to green-light the transfer and it is claimed the manager is glad he listened and is delighted with the midfielder’s performances.

Following his dip of form after Christmas, Torreira is yet to start a game for the Gunners this season, so far playing just 36 minutes of football.

But, as the Uruguayan’s standout performance last season came in the thrilling 4-2 victory over Tottenham in December, he could well be in line to make his first start of the campaign in Sunday’s north London derby.

Transfer news and football gossip: Celtic demand more for Tierney, Liverpool complete first summer signing, Wan-Bissaka latest

27 Jun

talkSPORT.com rounds up all the latest transfer news and football gossip from Thursday’s papers and online…

 

Despite contrary reports, Man United remain the only club to have submitted an offer for Ajax wonderkid Matthijs de Ligt. – (FULL STORY)

Arsenal have been told to up their £15million offer for Kieran Tierney by Celtic boss Neil Lennon.- (FULL STORY)

Motherwell midfielder David Turnbull’s move to Celtic has fallen through after the clubs failed to re-negotiate fresh terms. – FULL STORY

Liverpool have made Sepp van den Berg, the teenage centre-back, their first signing of the summer. – FULL STORY

Chelsea will sign Mateo Kovacic on a permanent basis before the end of the month in a deal worth £45million. The Blues are able to sign Kovacic despite their transfer ban as he is already registered with them. – FULL STORY

Ander Herrera will be presented as a Paris Saint-Germain player next week, having agreed to join the Ligue 1 champions when his Manchester United contract expires. (L’Equipe)

getty images - getty
Longstaff caught the eye after breaking into Newcastle’s first-team last season[/caption]

Everton are making a shock move to sign Juventus wonderkid Moise Kean with a £27million bid reportedly submitted by the Toffees. (Corriere dello Sport)

Manchester United are expected to target Newcastle’s Sean Longstaff and Leicester’s James Maddison once their deal for Aaron Wan-Bissaka is completed. (Times)

Wan-Bissaka has been pictured at United’s Carrington training ground to finalise his £50million transfer from Crystal Palace. (The Sun)

Juventus have asked Adidas for financial help in their pursuit of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba. (Corriere dello Sport)

Inter Milan will offer to sign United striker Romelu Lukaku on loan for two years for £9million, with an obligation to buy him for £53.8m when it ends. (The Guardian)

Ajax centre-back Matthijs de Ligt has accepted a contract offer from Juventus, who will now hold talks with his club to try to agree a deal worth £70m for the 19-year-old. (The Guardian)

However, Paris Saint-Germain have not given up on bringing the Dutch international to the French capital. (The Guardian)

Manchester United have pulled out of the running to sign Leicester City defender Harry Maguire, after being told the 26-year-old will cost £100m. (Daily Mirror)

United have met with the agent of Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes to try to secure a £70m move for the 24-year-old from Sporting Lisbon – FULL STORY


LIVE TRANSFER BLOG: Keep up to date with the latest news and gossip on talkSPORT.com


Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira says AC Milan have not made contact with him over a possible return to Serie A – FULL STORY

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard, Nice boss Patrick Vieira and Manchester City coach Mikel Arteta are all on Newcastle United’s shortlist to replace Rafa Benitez. (Daily Telegraph)

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is also on Newcastle’s radar but the Magpies would have to pay the Clarets £10m in compensation to bring him to St James’ Park. (Daily Mail)

Torreira has denied the rumours surrounding his future at Arsenal
Getty Images - Getty

Rangers have held talks with former Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel over a free transfer to Ibrox. (Daily Record)

Manchester City could scupper Watford’s deal to sign Fluminense forward Joao Pedro in January 2020, by taking advantage of a £17.9m clause in the contract and hijacking the move for the 17-year-old Brazilian. (Daily Star)

Bayern Munich have held talks with the agent of Barcelona’s French forward Ousmane Dembele over a move for the 22-year-old. (Daily Mirror)

PSG have opened talks with AC Milan over a potential £46m deal for 20-year-old Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. (Daily Mail)

Arsenal news: Lucas Torreira provides big update on Gunners future amid AC Milan rumours

26 Jun

Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira has assured Gunners fans he is going nowhere this summer.

The Uruguay international joined from Sampdoria in a £23m deal last summer and was impressive in his debut campaign in the Premier League.

Torreira has been linked with a move away from Arsenal
Getty Images - Getty

Torreira appeared 50 times for the north London outfit and was an instant hit with the Emirates faithful, who warmed to his bullish approach in the heart of the midfield.

However, AC Milan have showed interest in him in recent weeks and with ex-Sampdoria boss Marco Giamaolo now appointed as the new boss at the San Siro, a reunion with Torreira was strongly mooted.

But the Uruguay star, speaking ahead of his nation’s Copa America quarter-final against Peru on Saturday, has hushed the rumours of an exit.

“Nobody from AC Milan has got in touch with me,” he said.

“Today I’m in the Premier [League] and happy to be part of Arsenal.

“Adapting was not easy, but I only think about the team. I’m happy to be there.”

Torreira sparked rumours of a potential move away from the Premier League after admitting he preferred life in Italy earlier this month.

Asked what parts of life in England he enjoyed, Torreira replied: “I don’t know if there are many things that I enjoy. I think it was better in Italy. England is a totally different world, a very large country.

“The language [barrier] 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.

“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. But as the years pass, I’m going to be adapting.”

Torreira’s current deal with Arsenal keeps him at the Emirates until 2023.

Arsenal transfer news: Five potential Lucas Torreira replacements, including Paris Saint-Germain stars Adrien Rabiot and Christopher Nkunku

25 Jun

Arsenal had a pretty miserable end to the season after failing to qualify for the 2019/20 Champions League.

They hit bad form in the final few games to finish outside the Premier League top four and also lost the Europa League final to Chelsea.

It’s set to be a summer of struggle for Gunners boss Unai Emery
Getty Images - Getty

A lack of Champions League football has led to some players being linked with a move away from the Emirates Stadium and there’s also less money coming into the club, meaning it could be a pretty dire summer for supporters.

One player that has been heavily linked with a transfer away from Arsenal is Lucas Torreira, who admitted to missing life in Italy after moving from Sampdoria last summer.

The midfielder could join AC Milan this summer and reunite with Milan boss Marco Giampaolo, who managed him at Samp.

So with Arsenal’s limited budget and lack of Champions League football, who are they likely to get in as his replacement?

Below you can see FIVE players the Gunners could try to get if Torreira does end up leaving this window.

Torreira could be heading for an Arsenal exit after one season at the club
Getty Images - Getty

Benjamin Bourigeaud

Arsenal know the Rennes midfielder very well as he actually scored against them in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie, which saw the French side win 3-1.

Estadio Deportivo reports that the Frenchman is also wanted by Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool too.

Rennes rejected a bid of £11million from Emery’s former club Sevilla so the Gunners may be encouraged that Bourigeaud will be available for a relatively cheap price.

Bourigeuad up against the player he could potentially replace at Arsenal
Getty Images - Getty

Dani Ceballos

The Real Madrid midfielder looks set for a Bernabeu exit and although he’s more likely to join Tottenham this summer, Arsenal remain outside contenders to land him.

Ceballos is understood to be rated at £44million and Los Blancos will not accept any lower bid for him, which would be over Arsenal’s budget for the summer.

However, any money from selling Torreira could be added to the budget so Ceballos may not necessarily be out of the Gunners’ price range and Spurs chairman Daniel Levy is notorious for playing hard ball during negotiations.

Ceballos may not be a Real Madrid player next season
Getty Images - Getty

Christopher Nkunku

Unai Emery could try to lure some of his former players at Paris Saint-Germain who are available on the cheap this summer.

Midfielder Nkunku was linked with a loan move to Arsenal in January, but PSG turned down the offer.

L’Equipe reports the French giants want £13.5million for the 21-year-old which is well within the Gunners’ price range.

They need to move quickly though as RB Leipzig are attempting to conclude a deal.

Nkunku is a fringe player at PSG and may want a move elsewhere
Getty Images - Getty

Adrien Rabiot

It seems unlikely the Frenchman would join Arsenal but he’ll be very appealing to Emery, who used to manage him at PSG.

From the end of June the France international will be available for free, which would suit the Gunners.

Rabiot, 24, was heavily linked with a move to Barcelona but the transfer has looked dead in the water ever since they signed Frenkie de Jong from Ajax.

Arsenal are likely to have to fight off interest from the likes of Liverpool, who have also been linked to Rabiot.

Rabiot has been linked with a move away from PSG for the best part of a year
Getty Images - Getty

Dominik Szoboszlai

Red Bull Salzbrug coach Rene Maric claims Hungarian Dominik Szoboszlai has the potential to become ‘the best central midfielder in the world’. With this in mind, what’s not to like?

The Austrian club appear resigned to losing the 18-year-old to one of Europe’s big clubs this summer and is valued at £15million, according to Football.London.

Szoboszlai is therefore in Arsenal’s price range and because he’s still developing that may put Arsenal at an advantage as the elite clubs tend to go for players who are the finished article.

Arsenal transfer news: Gunners fans livid as reports linking Lucas Torreira with a move to AC Milan get stronger

25 Jun

It’s fair to say Lucas Torreira was one of Arsenal’s better performers last season as they failed to qualify for the Champions League for a third successive season.

The Uruguayan midfielder joined the Gunners from Sampdoria in a £23million deal last summer and impressed with some assured displays in front of defence in his debut campaign in the Premier League.

Gunners fans think Torreira is leaving Arsenal
getty

Torreira appeared 50 times for the north London outfit and was an instant hit with the Emirates faithful, who warmed to his bullish approach in the heart of the midfield.

However, AC Milan have shown interest in him in recent weeks and with Sampdoria boss Marco Giampaolo now appointed at the San Siro, a reunion with Torreira could be close.

And the 23-year-old has done little to quieten speculation on his future after admitting he preferred life in Italy compared to England.

“The language [barrier] 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,” Torreira said earlier this month.

“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.”

In light of his possible move away, it’s safe to say Gunners are fuming on social media that one of their betters performers could be headed on their way out of the Emirates, as you can see below.

 

Arsenal news: Lucas Torreira is ‘not pushing the exit button’ despite ‘homesick’ comments

13 Jun

Lucas Torreira is ‘not pushing the exit button’ at Arsenal, despite admitting he has struggled to settle in England.

That’s according to talkSPORT’s Spanish football expert Alvaro Romeo, who says a number of Gunners stars in the past have also taken time to adapt to life in the Premier League.

Torreira stunned fans this week by conceding he preferred his life in Italy, saying, ‘I don’t know if there are many things that I enjoy [living in England]’.

Torreira had a flying start but has tailed off in recent months
getty

The Uruguay international said he misses the sun from when he played in Genoa with Sampdoria, and has also struggled to connect with his team-mates due to the language barrier.

His comments sparked transfer reports that he was opening the door to leave this summer, with AC Milan linked with an interest in bringing the midfielder back to Italy after a hit-and-miss first season in England.

Torreira was one of the success stories at Arsenal in the early stages of this season. He made a very good start to his first campaign at the Emirates and ended up making 50 appearances, but his performance levels faded towards the end.

talkSPORT International presenter Romeo has interviewed the Spanish-speaking player on numerous occasions over the last 12 months, and he explained to Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs just how much Torreira has struggled to settle at the London club.

“I sensed that he was not adapted yet, that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t say he looked unhappy,” he said.

“The first time I interviewed him on the day of his presentation [when he signed for Arsenal], I can say I’ve seen few players with less knowledge of England than Torreira on his first day, and after a couple of months he still didn’t speak the language.

“He’s a nice guy, though, he’s the kind of polite player who would always stop and talk to journalists.

“But he’s not fluent in English yet, I guess he must have improved over the last nine or ten months, but he’s still got a long way to go with the language.”

However, he insists the Uruguayan is ‘not pushing the exit button’ and says Arsenal players in the past have experienced the same issues with adapting in England and went on to have good careers for the Gunners.

Torreira left his native Uruguay to move to Italy when he was 16 and it took him time to settle there, too
getty

“The fact at the beginning you’re not culturally adapted to the country, it doesn’t necessarily mean goodbye to England,” Romeo added.

“Santi Cazorla needed a translator for a couple of years at Arsenal – I know that because I was his translator a number of times. Nacho Monreal and David Ospina as well, and they all managed to stay three or four seasons at Arsenal, and Monreal is still there.

“And Torreira wasn’t ranting, he was not pressing the exit button.

“He also admitted telling Arsenal TV that he struggled a little bit to adapt to Genoa when he moved to Italy when he was 16, from a really small town called Fray Bentos in Uruguay.

Spanish boss Unai Emery will be key in helping Torreira settle in more at Arsenal, claims Romeo
Getty

“He struggled in Italy as well, but he managed to make it in Italy, so I don’t see why he can’t manage to make it in England, too.

“And at Arsenal they’ve got a Spanish speaking manager in Unai Emery, which is really important.”

Listen back to talkSPORT’s Spanish expert Alvaro Romeo IN FULL above

Arsenal news: Lucas Torreira hints at Gunners exit after admitting he preferred life in Italy

12 Jun

Lucas Torreira has hinted he is interested in a move away from Arsenal after admitting he preferred life in Italy.

The Uruguayan midfielder joined the Gunners from Sampdoria in a £23m deal last summer and was impressive in his debut campaign in the Premier League.

Lucas Torreira was one of Arsenal’s best players this season

Torreira appeared 50 times for the north London outfit and was an instant hit with the Emirates faithful, who warmed to his bullish approach in the heart of the midfield.

However, AC Milan have shown interest in him in recent weeks and with Sampdoria boss Marco Giamaolo close to being appointed at the San Siro, a reunion with Torreira could be close.

And the 23-year-old has done little to quieten speculation on his future after admitting he preferred life in Italy compared to England.

Asked what parts of life in England he enjoys, Torreira replied: “I don’t know if there are many things that I enjoy. I think it was better in Italy. England is a totally different world, a very large country.

“The language [barrier] 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.

“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. But as the years pass, I’m going to be adapting.”

Torreira has sparked speculation on his future

Torreira was not immediately drafted into the first team under Unai Emery but he ended up featuring in the most matches this season so far in his career.

And he has admitted his spike in game-time this season has taken its toll.

“There were many more matches,’ said Torreira. “I had to get used to playing every three days, which is very hard. “Unfortunately, it is not given us to classify directly to the Champions League and got through to the final of the Europa League. Losing that final was very hard not only for us but for the club. But for me, the balance was positive and I am satisfied and happy with what I did in the year.”

Arsenal team news: How Gunners could line-up for Europa League final against Chelsea with Unai Emery yet to reveal if Petr Cech will play

29 May

Unai Emery is hoping his first season at Arsenal ends on a high with a Europa League final win.

Not only will it be a first piece of silverware for the manager but also mean a coveted Champions League final place.

The Gunners finished outside the top four in the Premier League but have a second chance of getting into next season’s elite European competition.

They must beat Chelsea in the final in Baku, with commentary live on talkSPORT, to seal that place.

Here at talkSPORT.com we have taken a look at how Arsenal could line-up for the final tonight.

How Arsenal could line-up against Chelsea in the Europa League final
Build Lineup

There are still question marks over who will play in goal for the Gunners on Wednesday.

Petr Cech could be in for a final swansong before his retirement at the end of the season and has been their goalkeeper in the Europa League this season.

He could decide to go with Bernd Leno who has been their league keeper and deny Cech the chance to close out his career against his former club.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday, Emery said: “The first XI for tomorrow, I’m going to see tomorrow.

“Cech is a great man, a great professional, it is amazing his behaviour and final year with us.

“I want to do something important with him in the last moment of your career, playing or not playing.

“He deserves trust in him, his career says to us he is a gentleman. He can start or cannot start, I am going to decide.

“How can we not believe in him?”

Emery is likely to go five at the back with Sead Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles to be used as the wing-backs.

Mesut Ozil has not been a favourite of Unai Emery but may still start
Getty

Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Laurent Koscielny and Nacho Monreal should line-up as the central defenders.

Lucas Torreira and Granit Xhaka will be used in front of the defence with Mesut Ozil in the more advanced attacking role.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette have formed a fantastic partnership this season and have 50 goals between them and will be a danger for the Chelsea defence.

Can Arsenal claim a third European trophy by beating Chelsea in Baku?

Find out by listening to live commentary of the match on talkSPORT from 8pm.

Arsenal team news: How the Gunners could line-up against Valencia for their Europa League semi-final second leg

9 May

Arsenal have the slight advantage going into the second leg of their Europa League semi-final with Valencia on Thursday.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a late goal at the Emirates in the first leg to make it 3-1 after Alexandre Lacazette had scored twice in the first half.

The Gunners will have to be wary of the away goal Valencia possess as they know a 2-0 defeat will see them crash out.

Unai Emery’s side have a good chance of reaching the final
Getty

As we have seen with this week’s Champions League matches, three goal leads have not even been enough of a cushion.

Unai Emery’s side know that their only realistic chance of getting into the Champions League is by winning this competition.

They have been shambolic away from home for large parts of the season, with some particularly questionable results in the Europa League.

Arsenal have already been beaten by Rennes and BATE Borisov and know they will need to rectify this to progress to the final in Baku.

So, how will Arsenal line-up? We’ve predicted their XI below.

How Arsenal could line up against Valencia
Build My Lineup

In defence, Emery should be able to revert to a back-five with Ainsley Maitland-Niles able to return following his domestic suspension.

He will come in for Stephan Lichtsteiner while Laurent Koscielny is likely to be fit for the trip to the Mestalla.

In midfield, Emery will have to choose between Matteo Guendouzi and Lucas Torreira to partner Granit Xhaka in the middle.

LIVE ON talkSPORT

talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2...

  • Ajax vs Tottenham (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Valencia vs Arsenal (Thursday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Newport vs Mansfield (Thursday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Tranmere vs Forest Green Rovers (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Aston Villa vs West Brom (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Derby vs Leeds United (Saturday, 5:15pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Sunderland vs Portsmouth (Saturday, 7:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Doncaster vs Charlton (Sunday, 12:15pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Mansfield vs Newport (Sunday, 6pm) – talkSPORT 2

Guendouzi started the first leg at the Emirates while Torreira replaced him in their match at Brighton on Saturday.

Lacazette and Aubameyang are in fine form up front with the latter netting four times in his last six games.

What Troy Deeney allegedly told Unai Emery after red card for elbow on Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira

16 Apr

Troy Deeney was sent off on Monday night against Arsenal for appearing to elbow Lucas Torreira in the face.

And the Watford captain then exchanged cross words with Gunners manager Unai Emery as he left the Vicarage Road pitch.

Troy Deeney saw red for his ‘elbow’ on Lucas Torreira

According to the Daily Mirror, Deeney called the decision to send him off a ‘f****** embarrassment’ before appearing to talk to the diminutive midfielder.

As he headed for the tunnel, he first had words with the fourth official before venting to Emery on the touchline.

Pointing back towards the field, the 31-year-old shouted: “He’s a f****** p****.

“I’ve ran past him.”

Deeney exchanged words with Torreira

Arsenal claimed all three points by grinding out a 1-0 win to move back into the top four and above Chelsea with a game in hand.

And the course of the game was decided within the space of a minute as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang pounced on a Ben Foster mistake to score.

Then, no more than 60 seconds after the goal, the Hornets were down to 10 men after Deeney’s challenge.

Referee Craig Pawson did not see the striker catch Torreira, but it was referred to it by his linesman on the near side.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang challenges Ben Foster for the goal

Deeney will now miss the next three games for his side as a result of his dismissal for violent conduct – 18 months on from his ‘cojones’ jibe at the Gunners.

Gary Neville, speaking on Monday Night Football, said of the red card: “15 years ago, you’d say he’s not done a lot wrong.

“In the 2019 Premier League, he’s got nowhere to go.”

LIVE ON talkSPORT

talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2...

  • Barcelona vs Manchester United (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Juventus vs Ajax (Tuesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Porto vs Liverpool (Wednesday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Napoli vs Arsenal (Thursday, 8pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Sheffield United vs Nottingham Forest (Friday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Leeds vs Wigan (Friday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Sunderland vs Doncaster (Friday, 5:15pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Norwich vs Sheffield Wednesday (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Newcastle vs Southampton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Accrington Stanley vs Luton (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Everton vs Manchester United (Sunday, 1:30pm) – talkSPORT
  • Cardiff vs Liverpool (Sunday, 4pm) – talkSPORT