Lucas Torreira is ‘not pushing the exit button’ at Arsenal, despite admitting he has struggled to settle in England.
That’s according to talkSPORT’s Spanish football expert Alvaro Romeo, who says a number of Gunners stars in the past have also taken time to adapt to life in the Premier League.
Torreira stunned fans this week by conceding he preferred his life in Italy, saying, ‘I don’t know if there are many things that I enjoy [living in England]’.
Torreira had a flying start but has tailed off in recent months
The Uruguay international said he misses the sun from when he played in Genoa with Sampdoria, and has also struggled to connect with his team-mates due to the language barrier.
His comments sparked transfer reports that he was opening the door to leave this summer, with AC Milan linked with an interest in bringing the midfielder back to Italy after a hit-and-miss first season in England.
Torreira was one of the success stories at Arsenal in the early stages of this season. He made a very good start to his first campaign at the Emirates and ended up making 50 appearances, but his performance levels faded towards the end.
talkSPORT International presenter Romeo has interviewed the Spanish-speaking player on numerous occasions over the last 12 months, and he explained to Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs just how much Torreira has struggled to settle at the London club.
“I sensed that he was not adapted yet, that’s for sure, but I wouldn’t say he looked unhappy,” he said.
“The first time I interviewed him on the day of his presentation [when he signed for Arsenal], I can say I’ve seen few players with less knowledge of England than Torreira on his first day, and after a couple of months he still didn’t speak the language.
“He’s a nice guy, though, he’s the kind of polite player who would always stop and talk to journalists.
“But he’s not fluent in English yet, I guess he must have improved over the last nine or ten months, but he’s still got a long way to go with the language.”
However, he insists the Uruguayan is ‘not pushing the exit button’ and says Arsenal players in the past have experienced the same issues with adapting in England and went on to have good careers for the Gunners.
Torreira left his native Uruguay to move to Italy when he was 16 and it took him time to settle there, too
“The fact at the beginning you’re not culturally adapted to the country, it doesn’t necessarily mean goodbye to England,” Romeo added.
“Santi Cazorla needed a translator for a couple of years at Arsenal – I know that because I was his translator a number of times. Nacho Monreal and David Ospina as well, and they all managed to stay three or four seasons at Arsenal, and Monreal is still there.
“And Torreira wasn’t ranting, he was not pressing the exit button.
“He also admitted telling Arsenal TV that he struggled a little bit to adapt to Genoa when he moved to Italy when he was 16, from a really small town called Fray Bentos in Uruguay.
Spanish boss Unai Emery will be key in helping Torreira settle in more at Arsenal, claims Romeo
“He struggled in Italy as well, but he managed to make it in Italy, so I don’t see why he can’t manage to make it in England, too.
“And at Arsenal they’ve got a Spanish speaking manager in Unai Emery, which is really important.”
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