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Reports: Lucas Torreira close to Atlético move, but Herrera must leave first

The Mexico international making way is the most challenging part of this potential deal

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Arsenal v Chelsea - FA Cup Final Photo by David Price/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

Atlético Madrid are close to signing Lucas Torreira from Arsenal as Diego Simeone looks to bolster his midfield options this season, according to the Athletic.

The deal will be a season-long loan with Atlético retaining the option to make it permanent in the summer. AS say the deal won’t be announced until Héctor Herrera leaves the club.

Torreira has not featured for Mikel Arteta’s side this season and played only a small role last season. The defensive midfielder is not seen as an ideal fit for the Spanish coach’s side. Mohamed Elneny returned to the club after a loan with Besiktas and he has started in two of Arsenal’s three Premier League games this year.

“Torreira has been convinced by Diego Simeone that he will play an important role for Atletico next season, and potentially beyond,” the Athletic reported.

Arsenal Training Session
ST ALBANS, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21: (L-R) Lucas Torreira and Mo Elneny of Arsenal during a training session at London Colney on September 21, 2020 in St Albans, England.
Photo by Stuart MacFarlane/Arsenal FC via Getty Images

The as-yet unconfirmed Torreira agreement moves Herrera one step closer to the door after he failed to convince Simeone as a Thomas Partey partner or substitute in central midfield. As we explained in our analysis of Atlético’s midfield options, Torreira could offer Simeone the kind of intensity in midfield not seen since Gabi.

Arsenal have been trying to sign Thomas Partey from Atlético but have been unwilling to meet his release clause. Atlético will budge on that €50 million fee. Lyon’s Houssem Aouar has emerged as a cheaper alternative.

Should he arrive, Torreira will become Atlético’s third Uruguayan after José Giménez and Luis Suárez. When Simeone heard he was out of Arteta’s plans, he personally called Torreira to let him know he had a home at the Wanda Metropolitano if the concerned parties could agree on a deal. The 24-year-old’s agent, Pablo Betancur, has been in Madrid ironing out the transfer details. Simeone specifically asked the club to get the deal over the line as he puts the finishing touches on his squad for this season.

Arsenal wanted €24 million for Torreira this summer, but Atlético were keen on a loan deal given the fragile economic situation brought about by the coronavirus pandemic.