I’ve just finished the final run of guests, a run that lasted 11 days straight, I’m more relieved than David Beckham after picking up his daughter’s pencil case.
The above comment was all for the joke kids, all for the joke. Or quip. Whatever.
News continued to gather pace that Arsenal are going to make Torriera our first exciting signing of the summer. There’s talk that Napoli are going to enter the race, with Carlo seeing the Uragyaun as an exciting option. Now, I don’t mean to be mean about Napoli, but a few things here.
⚽ Carlo is walking into the same trap he did at Bayern, but with a less dominant team. I struggle to see how the Napoli players are going to adapt to his more relaxed approach to football after an intense few years under Sarri. The same issue happened at Bayern.
⚽ Napoli aren’t on the same level as Arsenal when it comes to player appeal. Sure, the area ‘might’ beat out London. The food is great. There’s a lot of sunshine. But club wise, there’s no challenge. Arsenal fill their stadium, the Premier League is better, the money will be elite, our city is elite and our training facilities are incredible.
It sounds like the deal is moving in the right direction. The player looks very exciting. I like that he looks a leader. That injection of South American passion sitting at the base of our midfield would be a sight to behold. I feel like the club has grossly neglected defensive midfield for years.
Emery made some interesting points in his GFFN article when it came to the position. He was saying that you lose something when you bring in a destroyer, which is why he liked to play Rabiot there when he was at PSG. He mentioned that Bayern/Madrid struggled defensively with Alonso, but they more than made up for his weakness in defensive transition with attacking prowess.
I remember when I would analyse Real Madrid, I thought that Xabi Alonso suffered from not having to run track back and that he was the weak link. When I would analysed Barcelona and saw Busquets, I thought that Sergio suffered from the space left behind him. I thought the same with Thiago Motta. All the great defensive midfielders suffer from a lack of space behind them, and when they are required to track back. But when a team has the ball 70% of the time, that is more important than knowing if you’ll struggle when tracking back. You are the one dominating the matches. That’s why your defensive midfielder’s output during moments where you don’t have the ball is less important.
Because those periods don’t last as long. If I were to put a destroyer at defensive midfielder, there’s a significant trade off between what I can do during build-up play, rather than what I can do in defensive situations. Of course, Thiago Motta needs to better without the ball. But if you analyse Xabi Alonso or Sergio Busquets, the same could be said for them. They struggle during those periods, but they contribute so much more while on the ball. I don’t think this position was a weakness for PSG.
Motta is an incredible defensive midfielder. His injuries were the problem this year. Motta brought a lot to the team and his contribution on the ball was significant. He had difficult tracking back? Fine, but so do two other European champions Xabi and Busquets, who possess the same characteristics as Thiago. I don’t think PSG’s problem was the defensive midfielder.
Let’s talk about Rabiot. He’s a central midfielder, who is more comfortable playing as a defensive midfielder rather than a creative one. Even if he remains more of box-to-box, rather than a defensive midfielder. When you want to play with a defensive, creative and box-to-box-midfielders in fixed positions, Rabiot finds himself confronted to a problem. He has to run, run, run and not play in a fixed position statically. And even less so with his back turned on the action.
Rabiot doesn’t really like playing as a defensive midfielder, he likes playing as a box-to-box, but I prefer him as a defensive midfielder. That’s why after the elimination against Real Madrid, I told him he would play as a defensive midfielder.
In that position, he can be faced with play and switch around with Verratti. He is more competitive in these conditions. With certain players, you can’t impose a strict idea. You have to adapt yourself to their characteristics in order to win in individual and collective competitiveness. Lassana Diarra? He arrived in early January, after having played for six months in a low level league, and he needed time to accustom himself to the high level.
I think clubs are trying to find players that can offer a bit more in both areas these days. When you read up about Torreira he seems to have a bit of Jack, with his ability to break the lines with cute play and pace, he has the long range of passing that Xhaka is known for, and he’s high energy like Ramsey. I found this great write up on him.
Sampdoria primarily work with a diamond formation in which Torreira acts as the base of the three man midfield. When you watch them play, you can see how much compactness is stressed with the high volume of short passing in their build up play, creating shapes within the pitch for passing outlets as they progress the ball in such a methodical manner that will eventually lead to shooting opportunities. It allows Sampdoria to create situations where the opposition are attracted so much by the passer and the player receiving the ball, that connections are formed on the pitch and a third teammate can be reached by a pass, referred as “the third man”.
Torreira is important in the build-up phases for Sampdoria. He’s the one that operates as the base, positioning himself in close proximity with the centerbacks. Because of his ability to be cool under pressure, he can either pass it off to a teammate nearby or play a long pass up to the likes of Fabio Quagliarella and Duván Zapata so they can hold up play and play short passes/layoffs for other teammates in higher positions.
One of the things that I found most impressive with Lucas Torreira when looking at the video is the ease in which he hits long passes, and the variety to which he can hit it. This is born out in the data itself with Played Off The Park’s brilliant piece which tried to use statistical data and the use of z-score application in finding which players fit which archetype of midfielders. Torreira came out fairly well in relation to other players of his age group when it came to deeper midfielders, taking volume into account. Torreira is capable of attempting different kinds of long passes, whether it be while he’s got acres of space to settle down and pick out his target or being hurried by an opposition marker. It’s this kind of versatility that makes him an intriguing player.
Next season, give me someone who can defend, pass well, play in a system and offer us up the kind of mobility that might challenge your grandma in a race. Remember the Alex Song days? What a horror show that was…
We’re baking balance into our squad. An added bonus if we sign him is AMN has someone to learn off, as I see his future sitting at the base of midfield. It’ll also spare us from having to watch Xhaka plug away in a position he’s not built for. Win, win.
It’s also promising the money Sampdoria are looking at is around £20-25m mark. I’m amazed there’s less raiding of Serie A considering the talent they have on offer. Having a proper Head of Recruitment in place is finally seeing us raid countries outside Germany, France and Spain.
Finally, we’ve hired in a Director of Football Development to look after the coaches in the U9-U23s.
Marcel Lucassen (55) goes to work at Arsenal. De Venlonaar has signed a three-year contract with the top club in London and will work as Director of Football Development on 1 August.Lucassen thus becomes responsible for the development of both the coaches and the players of the teams Under 9 to Under 23.Lucassen worked for the past three years as Head of Al Nasr Education from Dubai. Before that he worked for the German Football Association for seven years and in 2011 he was assistant coach of TSG Hoffenheim. “What I’m going to do at Arsenal is to further develop the football philosophy, as I did earlier with Al Nasr and the German Football Association, and it was time to start working closer to home so that I could have my family in Blitterswijck. living, can see more often.
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