Gilberto Silva: Lucas Torreira could be Arsenal’s N’Golo Kante

Arsenal legend Gilberto Silva has today discussed the potential impact of Gunners’ summer signing Lucas Torreira.

Torreira targeted

22-year-old defensive midfielder Torreira was a man in-demand this summer, following a stellar campaign in Italy last season with Sampdoria.

The Uruguayan international then only added to his list of admirers with his showings at the World Cup in Russia, playing a key role in his country’s run to the quarter-finals of the tournament, where Oscar Tabarez’s men were eliminated by eventual champions France.

Arsenal vs Napoli

In the end, the two clubs to have expressed the most serious interest in Torreira’s signature were Arsenal and Napoli.

New Gunners’ boss Unai Emery was widely-reported to have identified his side’s midfield as an area in dire need of reinforcements.

Napoli, meanwhile, were on the lookout for midfield additions of their own, following Jorginho’s departure for Chelsea.

In the end, though, the willingness of the former to splash out 5 million Euro more than Torreira’s 25 million Euro release clause saw Arsenal clinch the South American’s signature back in July.

Lucas Torreira

LONDON, ENGLAND – AUGUST 18: Ross Barkley of Chelsea and Lucas Torreira of Arsenal battle for the ball during the Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC at Stamford Bridge on August 18, 2018 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Torreira joins Arsenal

Torreira has since struggled for game-time in North London, but has showcased flashes of exactly why the Gunners made his signing a priority this summer during his limited time on the pitch.

He came off the bench in Arsenal’s last outing versus Cardiff, eventually grabbing the assist for Alexandre Lacazette’s winning goal.

‘The protective instinct’

And one individual who feels as though there’s plenty more to come from Arsenal’s Uruguayan enforcer is club legend Gilberto Silva.

Gilberto, a top-class holding midfielder himself in his prime, revealed his opinion that Torreira brings a discipline and ‘protective instinct’ to his former side’s ranks in the middle of the park that had been majorly lacking in the past:

‘I watched him [Torreira] in the World Cup.’

‘He did a very good job. If you see the way he plays, he plays the game very simply. He makes things easy for himself on the field.’

‘He gives protection to the back four and support to the guys up front. He tries to find the best spot to be in. The protective instinct is very natural for him.’

‘Before he arrived none of the other players were the kind who would sit in front of the back four. It’s a hard job, not everyone wants this job.’

‘He’s got the potential’

The Brazilian also briefly discussed early comparisons between Torreira and Chelsea standout N’Golo Kante:

‘Of course, you have Kante at Chelsea.’

‘He’s a small player. It’s about how smart they are to play in this position, to find the best ball to give, play nice and simple.’

When questioned on whether Torreira could go on to make the same level of impact at the Emirates as has been made by Kante at London rivals Chelsea, Gilberto continued:

‘I hope so. The Premier League is not easy. You have to work hard to be considered a top player and progress game to game, season to season.’

‘But he’s got the potential. We saw that at the World Cup, where he did a great job for Uruguay.’

‘Not only this position but football has changed a lot. The way it’s played, the passion of the Premier League, it’s totally different from 10-15 years ago but you have to try and adapt.’

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