Torreira shone on first World Cup start to show what he can bring to Arsenal

Arsenal are reportedly extremely close to finalising the £26.4m signing of midfielder Lucas Torreira as the Unai Emery era takes shape at the Emirates Stadium.

Therefore, it must have been a slight worry for Gunners fans that the Uruguay international did not start either of his country’s first two World Cup matches, especially given their lack of world-renowned midfield talent.

With Uruguay already qualified for the knockout rounds with a game to spare, Torreira was handed his first World Cup start against hosts Russia and delivered an impressive performance in a thumping 3-0 win.

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Uruguay have spluttered so far, but with Torreira brought in to protect the back four, their other midfielders were freer to burst forward and support elite striking duo Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, who are central to any hopes of doing deep into the competition.

His positional discipline was notable for its sheer contrast with Granit Xhaka’s erratic nature at club level and if it is a straight fight between the pair this season, Torreira looks ahead on this evidence.

This is a steely Uruguayan side with quality at centre-half and centre-forward; the emergence of a top-class holding player could just offer the edge in their last 16 battle against Portugal on Saturday.