Arsenal‘s attempts to provide greater defensive solidity are continuing unabated as they close in on the signing of Sampdoria holding midfielder Lucas Torreira.
Unai Emery has already improved Arsenal’s leaky defence since replacing Arsene Wenger at the Emirates, adding Stephan Lichtsteiner to the ranks as a free signing from Juventus, as well as agreeing a deal to sign Dortmund centre back Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
That is certainly a promising start but Emery also wants to add mettle to the midfield. Arsenal head of recruitment Sven Mislintat has been targeting this position for months, long before it was known that Wenger would be leaving.
The Telegraph reports that Mislintat has decided on Torreira, a 22-year-old Uruguayan who has a £22m release clause at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris.
Arsenal and Sampdoria are in ongoing talks and the only potential sticking point is the structure of the payments. The Gunners are happy to cough up £25m if the fee is divided into instalments spread out across several years.
The lack of Champions League football, in addition to big spending on transfers and wages over the last two years, has left Emery with a modest budget with which to improve his squad.
Sokratis and Torreira would account for most of that budget, though more funds could be generated via player sales.
Torreira played all but two Serie A games for I Blucerchiati last season and established himself as one of the most promising players in his position in the league.
His form earned him a first Uruguay call-up and he is part of Oscar Tabarez’s 23-man squad for the World Cup, where they face Egypt in their opening game on Friday.