Mikel Arteta transfer plan backfires as Arsenal face return of outcast

Lucas Torreira is set to return to Arsenal this summer following his loan spell this season at Atletico Madrid.

Despite his side winning the title in La Liga, the Uruguayan midfielder will not extend his stay in the Spanish capital and will now return to North London this summer.

The 25-year-old started just three league games for Diego Simeone’s side this campaign and was a peripheral figure throughout the season, with his loan spell not working out.

Atletico’s signing of Geoffrey Kondogbia after the start of the season – signed to replace Arsenal-bound Thomas Partey – limited Torreira’s first-team opportunities yet further.

Lucas Torreira made just three starts in La Liga for Atletico Madrid

The Uruguayan was signed by Arsenal in the summer of 2018 from Italian club Sampdoria but sharply fell from prominence under Mikel Arteta.

Having been utilised heavily by Unai Emery – featuring in 69 matches under the Spaniard – he fell from prominence in the latter half of last season, making just two league starts after January 2020.

Torreira was one of several arrivals at The Emirates in the 2018/19 campaign – the first after Arsene Wenger had left the club – who did not work out in the long-term.

The arrivals of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Denis Suarez were all temporary, while Matteo Guendouzi also appears to have little future at the North London club.

Does Lucas Torreira have a future at Arsenal? Comment below

It had been hoped at Arsenal that Torreira’s loan spell at Atleti could nudge the Spanish club into making the deal permanent, but that will not come to fruition.

Torreira posted on his social networks as a goodbye message to the club’s fans: “It was the best from start to finish. Thank you Atleti family for everything. It has been a true honour to wear this beautiful shirt.”

The deep-lying midfielder had been linked with a return to South America this summer to join Argentine giants Boca Juniors – a desire he pushed for following the death of his mother – but talk of that deal has now gone quiet.

Torreira has said, in quotes carried by Uruguayan outlet Ovacion Digital : “The dream of playing in Boca is not lost, but I know it is very difficult.

“There was a lot of talk after everything that happened with my mother, because I expressed my feeling and my desire to come to Boca, but as time went by and once I became a little calmer in the group I understood that everything is very difficult, too.

“Although I can’t stop thinking about it because my idea is to play for Boca – I know I’m going to do it, if it isn’t now, it will be later, the most important thing is that the dream is not lost, it continues and that for me is very good.”

Having arrived from Sampdoria for a £26million fee three years ago, it appears impossible that the Gunners will recoup anywhere near that amount if they can facilitate his exit this summer.

Torreira’s return further bloats Arteta’s squad and they will be seeking his exit in the coming months.

However, Arteta would have hoped to have already had that sorted and that a permanent move to the newly-crowned Spanish champions would have already been secured – unfortunately, it wasn’t to be.

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