Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira has explained that his transfer to north London was all but complete before the World Cup kicked off in Russia during the summer.
The Uruguay international had appeared to flirt with moves to some of Serie A's biggest clubs throughout the transfer window as soon as it became clear that his two-year spell with Sampdoria was coming to an end.
Torreira actually made up his mind before a ball was even kicked at the 2018 World Cup, but the 22-year-old admitted that a move to the Premier League had never crossed his mind before being told of Arsenal's interest.
"At the end of my last season at Sampdoria, there were lots of teams being talked about," Torreira told the club, quoted by football.london. "I never imagined coming here to England because it was mainly Italian clubs being mentioned.
"Before I left for the World Cup I got a call from the coach which was a massive surprise for me. I knew that I had earned it because of all my hard work and everything that I had done. That phone call made me a happy man.
"It allowed me to relax too because it allowed me to focus all my attention on the national team and the World Cup. I’m so proud to be part of such an important team."
Torreira featured in all five of Uruguay's matches at the World Cup before being knocked out by the eventual champions, France, where he was then able to finalise his move to the Emirates.
He started La Celeste's last three matches, although the Arsenal star was forced to start the competitions plating second fiddle to the likes of Rodrigo Bentancur, Nahitan Nández and Matías Vecino.
Since moving to north London, Torreira's stock across Europe has skyrocketed. The midfielder is now among one of the most highly rated players on the continent, and his consistency for the Gunners has seen his sweep up six Man of the Match awards in a row.