Sampdoria star Lucas Torreira has this afternoon spoken out over the widespread rumours that he is on the verge of joining Premier League giants Arsenal.
Torreira, a 22-year-old defensive midfielder, emerged as one of the breakout stars in Serie A this past season, with the South American’s combination of tenacity, passing range and eye for goal having proven crucial to the fortunes of Marco Giampaolo’s men.
Torreira started 36 of Samp’s 38 league outings, racking up 4 goals and an assist in the process.
Unsurprisingly, the performances of the Uruguayan international, who received a call-up to Óscar Tabárez’s squad for this summer’s World Cup, have seen Torreira linked with a whole host of top clubs, with Juventus and Napoli having previously been viewed as the most-likely possible destinations for the midfielder.
But, after Juve seemingly cooled their interest in the former Pescara man, and Napoli were reported to have switched their attentions to Tottenham’s Mousa Dembele following Carlo Ancelotti’s appointment at the Stadio San Paolo, rumours quickly began to mount that Premier League outfit Arsenal had moved into the driver’s seat for Torreira.
One less suitor
However, a number of updates over the last fortnight revealed that Napoli were in fact still very much in the race for Torreira, with the Uruguayan viewed as the ideal replacement for Manchester City-bound Jorginho.
This led to claims that the Partenopei had re-taken the lead in the race to secure the Samp star’s signature, but, as per a significant report from the Corriere Del Mezzogiorno last week which has since been backed by numerous other outlets, Napoli definitively ended their chase of Torreira’s signature, due to the midfielder’s wage demands.
Torreira’s contract at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris contains a 25 million Euro release clause, but it is reported that this fee has to be paid in full within 60 days of a deal being agreed.
Napoli were said to have been ready to pay the clause, but would not sanction the 3 million Euro+ annual wages that the Samp star was demanding.
As such, Arsenal quickly re-emerged as firm favourites for Torreira.
North London bound?
And, after the always-reliable Gianluca Di Marzio revealed a short time later that a 30 million Euro deal between the Gunners and Sampdoria was ‘close’, Italian outlet La Gazzetta Dello Sport last Tuesday went on to claim that Arsenal had secured a deal with the Blucerchiati over a fee, and Torreira himself over the personal terms of a 5-year contract.
A number of outlets in both Italy and England then quickly ran the story over the preceding 24 hours that Torreira was all but confirmed as an Arsenal player, with the deal expected to be announced after the finish of Uruguay’s World Cup campaign.
And, speaking to reporters following his country’s 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia yesterday, Torreira was asked for an update on his impending move to the Emirates, after Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero confirmed that the midfielder had ‘left’ the Stadio Luigi Ferraris:
‘No, I don’t know [if he is an Arsenal player]. At the moment , the most important thing is playing for my country.’
‘Arsenal are a good team, one of the most important in the world, but at this moment I am focused on playing for my country.’