Pundit and former Arsenal and Ipswich striker Paul Mariner has claimed that Lucas Torreira has 'transformed' Unai Emery's Arsenal.
Torreira made his first Premier League start in week six of the campaign after appearing from the bench in Arsenal's first five fixtures. Since then, the defensive-minded midfielder has played every single minute in the league and has bolstered an Arsenal midfield infamous for their frailty.
Speaking to ESPN FC, Mariner identified Torreira as the key component in Arsenal's midfield, stating that he improves other players by allowing his midfield counterparts to express themselves further forward.
“He’s pushed Granit Xhaka further up the park a little bit where he’s a bit better, the protection for the back four is good," Mariner said. "Torreira has almost as a single guy transformed this team."
Emery's patience with the young Uruguayan has seemed to pay off as he was given time to adapt to the fast-moving Premier League game. Torreira made 71 appearances in the Serie A for Sampdoria, a league notorious for its slower build-up play.
But, following an exceptional World Cup campaign, the midfielder joined the north London giants in this summer's window with many questioning whether he would be able to adapt to the physicality of English football.
In Arsenal's recent Premier League clash with Liverpool, Torreira proved he can compete with the best sides in England, putting in a man of the match performance. He recovered the ball 10 times for Arsenal in that game and has made 68 ball recoveries in the league so far; second only to Granit Xhaka.
Arsenal are yet to lose a game in any competition that Torreira has started, highlighting just how important he is to Emery's side. With speculation over the future of Aaron Ramsey, Torreira could be the key to Arsenal's midfield for many years to come.