Television pundit and former Manchester United skipper Gary Neville has lauded Lucas Torreira following the Uruguayan's impressive start to his Arsenal career.
The midfielder joined the Gunners from Serie A outfit Sampdoria in the summer for a £26m fee, having caught the eye of many fans during the World Cup in Russia.
He hasn't taken long to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League and has established himself as an integral part of Unai Emery's new-look Arsenal side.
Neville, who witnessed the Uruguay international live in Russia, expressed his excitement at the talented defensive midfielder. As quoted by The Sport Review, Neville told Sky Sports' Monday Night Football: "I’ve been massively impressed.
"I watched him in the World Cup. I did the France vs. Uruguay game live and he was tenacious. In the first half an hour to 40 minutes you thought he gets around the pitch and he’s like a terrier, but then actually as France started to get on top he started to get dominated.
"Obviously Uruguay got a bit desperate but with the likes of Paul Pogba and Blaise Matuidi in midfield and Antoine Griezmann dropping in, I just remember thinking he couldn’t get around the pitch.
"So when Arsenal signed him you just wondered how it would be? But his impact upon that team is huge. I think it’s the biggest impact actually if you think about the character Arsenal have shown this season in terms of the second-half performances, keeping going and the tempo they sometimes set in games."
Torreira has scored two league goals this campaign, his first in the north London derby triumph over rivals Tottenham Hotspur, and the winner last time out against Huddersfield.
The midfielder has also provided two assists in 16 league appearances this season and his influence is exactly what the Gunners needed in the big games, according to Neville, who likened the 22-year-old to Arsenal legends Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira.
"If you look at him in that derby last week against Tottenham getting forward into the box he’s almost like this bundle of energy that everyone else in the team responds too, and this team needed that.
"With this Arsenal player over this three, four, five, six years that they’ve needed you’ve always got this picture of Emmanuel Petit and Patrick Vieira in your mind – a strong presence in midfield.
"He’s diminutive, not very big but then he’s tenacious. He gets into the box and he’s scored two goals in the last week. He’s good on the ball, he’s tidy on the ball and takes it and shows courage. He’s a massive upgrade on where they’ve been but most of all the impact he’s having on Arsenal’s mentality is huge."