The Spanish tactician had held concerns over Torreira’s height and physicality, but eventually relented when scouting experts pitched a presentation to explain the benefits of the signing.
Emery favours a specific type of holding midfielder and had initially set his sights on reuniting with Nzonzi – having already worked with the Frenchman at Sevilla.
Unai Emery had reportedly wanted to sign Steven Nzonzi ahead of eventual buy Lucas Torreira
Arsenal had been actively searching for a dominating force in the centre of midfield when Emery was hired last summer, and the ex-PSG manager targeted 6ft 4 Nzonzi to strengthen the spine of his new side.
But the club’s scouting experts soon alerted him to Torreira, who stands almost a foot smaller than Emery’s original preference.
The London side’s former head of recruitment Sven Mislintat and analytics expert Jason Rosenfeld had earmarked the diminutive Uruguayan, having been impressed by his amount of ball recoveries, tackling statistics and coolness in possession.
Emery had concerns over Torreira’s height and physicality and favoured a reunion with Nzonzi
Nzonzi, then 29, would have attracted a considerably lower re-sale fee if he had been bought
TORREIRA VS NZONZI
(Stats taken from last Serie A and Premier League season)
Tackles per game: 1.9
Tackles per game: 2.2
Torreira also held the advantage in age, and was 22-years-old when his move to the Emirates materialised.
The former Sampdoria man arrived with the potential of a healthy re-sale value, whereas Nzonzi, then 29, would have attracted a considerably lower fee.
The signing also fits in with Arsenal’s newfound policy of opting for youthful players over seasoned veterans, and the same publication believe that older players will only be bought ‘when strictly necessary’.
Despite recent interest from Italian giants AC Milan, Torreira remained at the Emirates to fight for his place and netted the consolation in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Liverpool last weekend.
Original article: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-7410719/Unai-Emery-wanted-Steven-Nzonzi-year-recruitment-team-persuaded-buy-Lucas-Torreira.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490