When Lucas Torreira flew to Italy for a trial at Pescara five years ago, he didn’t travel with just the dream of becoming a professional footballer but above all with the motivation of taking care of his family.
Lucas saw his father work a lot for a small amount. Ricardo, Lucas’ father, earned just enough to pay the rent and provide his family, consisting of his wife, Viviana, and their six kids, Ricardo Andrés, Claudio Marcelo, Estefany Soledad, Bryan Martín, Ana Laura and Lucas, of food and clothes.
As any father, Ricardo wanted his kids to follow their dreams and when one of his sons, Claudio Marcelo discovered that he mastered the art of painting better than most in the family’s hometown (Fray Bentos), he wanted him to go to Uruguay’s capital, Montevideo where he would have more opportunities. It didn’t work out, though. Claudio Marcelo could hardly get himself some food, so he decided to return to Fray Bentos.
Once Lucas reached the point in his life where his talent came to the surface and a move to Montevideo was necessary for him to take the next step, Ricardo promised himself to make sure that Lucas’ pursuit of success wouldn’t end up like that of his other son.
Lucas swapped his local football club, 18 de Julio for the youth academy of Primera side, Montevideo Wanderers. While Ricardo was financially supporting his son in any way possible from the little amount he earned, Lucas was doing well at Wanderers. As an attacking player, comparable to Carlos Tévez, Lucas was turning heads.
Along with six other youth players from Wanderers, he was given a chance abroad in December 2013 at Serie B club, Pescara. Lucas played with el cuchillo entre los dientes (with a knife between the teeth), to show that he was there to stay and he eventually convinced the Italian team of his potential. Lucas was the only Wanderers player to pass the trial and went to live in Europe as an 18-year-old
At Pescara, Lucas matured a lot as a player. He underwent a transformation. His position on the pitch changed significantly as he was tested in a central defensive midfield role. It has proven to be a position perfectly suited to the characteristics of the little Uruguayan.
His controlled aggressiveness, tactical awareness and incredible low-centre of gravity allowed him to flourish in the No6 spot and it didn’t take long before bigger clubs started to recognize Lucas’ noteworthy potential.
Sampdoria signed Torreira in the summer of 2015 and immediately loaned him back to Pescara. After a full campaign for Pescara’s first team, Lucas started his career with Sampdoria. He almost instantly was given the confidence of the manager, Marco Giampaolo and simply hasn’t looked back since. In two full Serie A seasons, Torreira developed himself from an upcoming talent into one of the best and most complete midfielders in Italy.
The man from Fray Bentos added more and more to his game. First, his vision and passing began to come out more and more and in the 2017/18 campaign, Lucas showcased his long-shot qualities as well by scoring some cracking goals. His progression was noticed by a lot of football fans in Europe and eventually also in Uruguay. In March 2018, Lucas debuted for the Uruguayan national team, fulfilling the childhood dream of any Uruguayan.
Manager, Óscar Tabárez was impressed by Lucas and called him up to Uruguay’s World Cup squad. As the tournament progressed, the midfielder’s influence grew with the highlight being his top performance vs. Portugal in the round of 16 match.
What can Lucas Torreira bring to Arsenal?
After the World Cup, Lucas has left Sampdoria to join historical English heavyweights, Arsenal. For a reported €30M fee, The Gunners captured the 22-year-old and it has made the fans excited. In Torreira, they see someone that represent everything their club has been lacking over the last decade.
Uruguayans have become known to rise to the occasions when the chips are down. In contrast, Arsenal have become known to bottle it when it really matters. The frustrating thing for the fans is that those collapses haven’t always been down to a lack of quality, but mostly due to a missing backbone; weak mentality.
Over the years, the term ‘recovery run’ seems to have vanished in the Emirates. The character to work for your teammates and put a shift in when things are getting tough has been non-existent in the Arsenal team, but with Lucas Torreira Arsenal do have someone who will bring that. Besides his ability on the ball, which is certainly up to Arsenal standards, Lucas gives the defence protection and will allow more advanced midfielders like Mesut Özil to play more freely. He will play games with the basic thought everyone should have; to win. To achieve that objective, no half-measures will be taken by this special player.
Torreira could well become a key man of the revolution under Unai Emery in which Arsenal become a unit ready to challenge again.