Proceed with extreme caution but we may have just bought another player

by Tony Attwood

“According to the press” (that most wonderful phrase that makes one think, “what self-serving rubbish will come forth now?”) Arsenal have agreed to buy Lucas Torreira (age 22, and of Uruguayan nationality) from Sampdoria for £26.4m (akin to 30m euros).   Allegedy terms are now being discussed with the agent in Milan.


“According to the press” (that most etc etc) “Arsenal hold talks with Uruguay and Sampdoria holding midfielder Lucas Torreira”.

And according to the press,

Torreira has a “£21.9m (€25m) release clause in his contract, which has another four years to run”.  However Arsenal, anxious to get a deal, or being so stupid they paid more than they had to (depending on your starting point)  have agreed to pay the club €5m to ensure that he doesn’t go to Naples.

Oh yes and instead of paying the money over four or five years as normal, Arsenal will pay it over three years as Napoli are a bit strapped at the moment.   And there’s more – Arsenal are offering a five year contract to the player.

Or, if one reads elsewhere, “the deal will hinge on the structure of the payments, with Arsenal ready to spend in excess of £25 million if the fee is spread over several years.”


So who is this man?  He started out as a forward and became a midfielder and according to a member of the press who know about these things is now “ranked among the best defensive midfielders in Serie A”.

He has one (or two) Uruguay caps according to which paper you read, and is in the current Urug squad.   And he is either the second, third or fourth signing by Arsenal, depending on whether we have also bought others who we are said to have bought but have not had confirmed by the club, such as Borussia Dortmund centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Yacine Adli from PSG.

Here are the figures of Torreria…

Seasons Team Games Goals
2014–2015 Pescara 5 0
2015–2016 Loan back to Pescara 29 4
2015– Sampdoria 71 4

Of course anything involving midfield raises questions about Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere.  It is being suggested that if Torreira and Sokratis both join Arsenal then that will be the budget gone, unless someone else is sold.

Certainly there are other things going on behind the scenes, such as Ainsley Maitland-Niles being given a five year contract (quite rightly so in my view).  He has been with the club since the age of nine and is now 20.

In other news our old chum Freddie Ljungberg is the new head coach of the under 23s.

So where are we with the 25 player list.  As can be seen below we have no problem with the home grown section, as always being well represented therein, and of course those classified as under 21 on the nominated date (which is not their birthday) don’t have to be listed.

Here is the list before any signings

No Player Contract end Last loan HG
1 Aaron Ramsey 6/30/2019 Y
2 Jack Wilshere 6/30/2018 Y
3 Rob Holding 6/30/2020 Y
4 Calum Chambers 6/30/2020 Y
5 Danny Welbeck 6/30/2019 Y
6 Hector Bellerin 6/30/2023 Y
7 Deyan Iliev Y
8 Matt Macey 6/30/2018 Y
9 Laurent Koscielny 6/30/2020
10 Henrikh Mkhitarian 6/30/2021
11 Andre Lacazette 6/30/2022
12 Mesut Özil 6/30/2021
13 David Ospina 6/30/2019
14 Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang 6/30/2021
15 Nacho Monreal 6/30/2019
16 Shkodran Mustafi 6/30/2021
17 Granit Xhaka 6/30/2021
18 Saad Kolasinac 6/30/2022
19 Petr Cech 6/30/2018
20 Mohamed Elneny 6/30/2020
21 Alex Iwobi 6/30/2020 Y
22 Emiliano Martinez 6/30/2021 Getafe Y
23 Carl Jenkinson 6/30/2018 Birmingham Y
24 Cohen Bramall 6/30/2018 Birmingham Y
25 Lucas Pérez 6/30/2020 Deportivo
26 Joel Campbell 6/30/2018 Real Betis
27 Chuba Akpom 6/30/2019 Sint-Truidense Y

That doesn’t look too problematic even if all our signings.  Of the three alleged signings one is under 21, so we have just added two to the squad (Torreira and Lichtsteiner) making 29.  That means four players to be removed.

There are a fair number of keepers on the list (Martinez, Macey, Iliev, Cech, Ospina) and I would imagine one or two of the first three will go without replacement.  I suspect Bramall may be loaned or sold, along with Campbell, Akpom and Perez.   That would take us back to around 23 players and still with nine home grown, so we would be able to sign up to two more without further sales and without worrying about where they got their footballing education.

It is however worth bearing in mind that once the UK leaves the EU, the ultra-nationalist FA with its lunatic notion that the reason England doesn’t win trophies is because we have too many foreigners in the top division, will seek to extend the home grown level way above its current position.   (It’s all to do with the number of qualified coaches as our research clearly showed).

Anyway, no problem yet – there are spaces for everyone once the adjustments and loans are done.



17 Replies to “Proceed with extreme caution but we may have just bought another player”

  1. he ultra-nationalist FA with its lunatic notion that the reason England doesn’t win trophies is because we have too many foreigners in the top division, why is it a lunatic notion -the same used to be said of the county championship in cricket in the past – i think competing regularly against the best players should be beneficial but if it limits the number who are able to do so then there maybe a point

  2. isn’t Maitland Nilles also Home Grown? Heard he signed a 5 ear extension yesterday

  3. Yes, it’s madness to think just playing the substandard will address the technical issues of the not good enough players.

    They will just kill the golden goose. Watch out for the backlash when we flop in the World Cup

  4. ron, all studies have shown that National teams get successful a short while after investing in grass roots level coaching. It happened with Germany, Holland, Spain, France etc etc etc the list goes on.
    The UK in general and England in this case, have far less trained qualified coaches than countries with successful national teams. Using English players that aren’t good enough in the PL won’t suddenly make them world class as it’s too late to teach them the basic technical skills, which all the national teams success is based around.
    So blame the long ball/kick him mentality of unqualified English youth coaching for the national team failures, rather than the better foreign players who make the PL the most competitive league in the world.

  5. Ron, some years ago I did a detailed study of a number of different countries and compared their success in big competitions with their attributes. What I found was that there was a direct link between the number of fully qualified coaches per 1000 players and their successes. This explained why some smaller countries could do so well from time to time.

    It was written before the success of Iceland in recent years but their success confirms the findings. England has a much smaller number of trained coaches per 1000 players than most other countries.

    Since then the findings have been reprinted in various places, most notably a major article in the Daily Telegraph a few years back. I’ll try and find the article on Untold and give you the link

  6. Torreira is a fantastic signing, if we are really going to pull that deal. For that money, Torreira is an absolute steal – it’s a fraction of the Pogba transfer and Man United are still signing players to make Pogba work (Matić, Fred).

    22-year-old, technically strong, capable of scoring from outside the box with his right foot and, what is really important, very mobile and aggressive. That last part should give him the edge over Xhaka who has been vulnerable whenever our opponents apply strong pressing game. That’s why Xhaka was the worst midfielder in the league last season in terms of errors leading to goals.

    With Torreira, our defence should be shielded in a more competent way, like it was the case during Coquelin-Cazorla reign in the middle of the pitch.

    Oh, yes: it’s such a refreshment to see a club that respects the contract clause of a Uruguayan player.

  7. Experienced foreign players keeping young talented English players from regular PL action and relatively small number of certified coaches/1000 players in England aren’t mutually exclusive as reasons for England’s WC failures.

    Andy Mac
    By your logic the 2017 England World Cup under 20 champions team should challenge for the WC at the senior level in 2022 regardless of how much first team action at the club level they might see.

    After all it would seem they have attained enough technical skills to maintain their world class lever since they managed to beat the best the world had to offer in their age group.

  8. your anticipation of afc being very active on the italian market looks as though it’s going to be proven right, tony
    as a subscriber of bein sports in france, i am entitled to watch calcio games, which i do sometimes – always from an arsenal perspective; so i’ve watched torreira a few times, after which i can say i agree with everything josif has just written
    “bergkampesque” has also published a piece today underlining what would be cazorla-ish about this signing; i agree with them as well, please don’t nomoremrniceguy me!
    i think AW would have vetoed the lichtsteiner-sokratis deals, as well as ridiculed the idea of playing two different kinds of football, one home and one away, but i’m convinced he would have strongly backed this move, although with aaron/granit/mo/ainsley in store, he wouldn’t have promised too much to the lad
    lastly, since afc seems to be focused on italy, and since there might be some kind of turnaround in the goalkeeper position, one young italian keeper has particularly impressed me; he’s called alex meret, and played for the “spal” team last year … there is something very courtois-ish about the lad!! having said that, i’d be very sad if a class act as petr should leave us after such a frustrating season …

  9. i know cricket and tennis and coaching is so important .it is why public schools pupils have such an advantage in cricket facilities and coaching . In tennis where i live the kids start coaching at a young age and you see 10, 11 year olds hitting the ball at 100miles per hour. Football seems more a case of natural ability which is subsequently enhanced by coaching . So i am not sure the number of coaches necessarily holds back the nations footballers. Although encouraging kids to partciipate with decent facilities cant be bad. it seems to me Germany have always done well in tournaments . spain have had great teams but until recently have not had the success. Holland came from nowhere with the cruyff generation and success can breed success.

  10. Chi Town Gooner,
    It’s not my logic, it’s facts concerning senior level football. Read Tonys article from years back.

    Youth football has little relevance to senior football, which is shown by the number of National Youth Team players that become National Senior Team players.
    In youth football (like lower level senior football) the physical development of the player can cover up the technical skills. That rarely happens at senior level because the physical side should be equally developed by then.
    We do not have enough qualified (to a decent level) coaches for the number of kids playing schoolboy football compared to countries with successful senior national teams.

  11. ron, whilst natural ability can produce players like Tony Adams, for most players in most positions there is so much more than being good at one specific thing now. Personally I don’t think Tony Adams would be good enough for the modern PL if he had his booze problems, but he probably would be without them provided he could get his fitness to a high enough level. But there aren’t many English player of that period I could say that about.
    In the past we had teams where one player was good at one thing (say a winger could beat a FB and get a good cross in) but the modern game asks that same winger to do so much more now. The game is the most physically strenuous it’s ever been with players now genuinely required to defend and pass to a high standard as well as do their main job.
    Although the rough side of the game is much reduced, the effort involved now is much greater.
    Someone like John Robertson (forest) wouldn’t get in a top PL team now, let alone be a European Cup winner.
    The majority of our kids aren’t trained in simple stuff like ball control to the same level that the top European Nations are, and being a natural at any one part of the game is no longer adequate.

  12. The New and foolproof Plan for World football domination by Britain-

    – All or majority of players from England and the home countries.

    – All or majority of managers/coaches from England and the home countries.

    – All or majority of owners/shareholders from England and home countries.

    – Unlimited support and maximum hype by British media and experts.

    – Unlimited support by the local fans , even though the prices will most probably go through the roof .

    – Harry Kane wins all the annual football awards ad nauseam .

    THE REST –

    – Spectacular collapse of world tv market for English ‘fare’, as we decide that the new super-duper EPL is just glorified Championship standard games.

    – We the worldwide tv aficionados decide that the German,the French, the Italian and the Spanish leagues , aren’t half bad and subscribe to them.

    – And we the global football fans rejoice at the level of good referring in said leagues ,and are overjoyed that we don’t have to put up with the the PIGMOB anymore.

    And we all have own respective cakes and we all get to eat them !

  13. I’m not sure about some of your contract info, Bramall, Cech, MAcey and Jenkinson, I think all have a year left, but if you were right,t hen we couldn’t sell Cohen as you suggest.

    I think you are incorrect though.

    HAve you seen the farcical fixture list? Come on guys, this is a big one to be on time for release.

    A) Check out the American owned clubs high up and then way down City and Arsenal.

    B) due for first months time adjustment, Oh lord, manipulation.

    Bournemouth v Cardiff City
    Arsenal v Manchester City late kick off
    Fulham v Crystal Palace
    Huddersfield Town v Chelsea late kick off
    Liverpool v West Ham United early kick off
    Manchester United v Leicester City early KO
    Newcastle United v Tottenham Hotspur late KO
    Southampton v Burnley
    Watford v Brighton
    Wolverhampton Wanderers v Everton

    I am going to suggest in advance.

    but thats not it, Arsenal fixtures, start Home City, then Chelsea. Spurs, United back to back and all in December with Liverpool.

    This run is aimed to kil the team.

    We lose at home to City on the opening day, they hope, so our season start abysmally, then we get it from Chelsea, season over.

    Then we struggle with Sours at home, then go awaty to Utd to get beat, before wrapping up the year downed by Liverpool.

    Blatant is an understatement.

    All the games will stack so that they don’t coincide with CL either.

    I don’t even know what to say.

    The idea that we are exploiting Italy, is simplistic, it’s economical, the value of the league = sales. Napoli aren’t so cash strapped, they are selling key elder statesmen and non key personnel.

  14. U Know who, $iteh and Chavski both have a lot of important players at the WC (we have some but much less) and it’s probable that they won’t be available for the first few games of the season, so it could work to our advantage… Could!

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