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

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.

NINTCHDBPICT000515841494 e1566670787864 - Arsenal boss Unai Emery ‘did not want to sign Lucas Torreira’ last summer – he wanted former Sevilla star Steven Nzonzi instead
Lucas Torreira came off the bench to score against Liverpool last weekend
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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.


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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.

Steven NZonzi - Arsenal boss Unai Emery ‘did not want to sign Lucas Torreira’ last summer – he wanted former Sevilla star Steven Nzonzi instead
World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi spent six years in the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City
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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.

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