Remember me?! Torreira masterclass shows Napoli what might have been
The Gunners midfielder – who the Italian outfit tried to sign last summer – was on top form as Unai Emery’s side sealed victory at the Emirates
How Napoli must hate Lucas Torreira.
For a time last summer, the Italians thought they had managed to prize the diminutive Uruguayan away from Sampdoria to help fill the void left by Jorginho’s departure to Chelsea.
But then Unai Emery and Arsenal’s former head of recruitment, Sven Mislintat, nipped in and convinced the midfielder that London was a better bet than Naples.
And as was evidenced on Thursday at the Emirates, Napoli’s loss has clearly been Arsenal’s gain.
Torreira has had a fabulous first season in England, but there is no doubt his performances have dipped somewhat since the turn of the year, which is perhaps no surprise given his exploits at the World Cup and having to adjust to a season with no winter break.
But in this absorbing Europa League quarter-final first leg he was back to his very best, bossing the midfield battle to remind Napoli what they could have had.
With Granit Xhaka once again missing due to the thigh strain he picked up on international duty, Torreira – who has missed the last three Premier League games due to suspension – was brought back into the midfield alongside Aaron Ramsey.
Emery then paired Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette together up front, with Mesut Ozil operating just behind the strikers.