Arsenal: Is the pressure growing on Arteta?
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Mikel Arteta has urged Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, who is spending the season on loan in Spain with Atletico Madrid, to remain calm amid speculation linking the Uruguay international with a switch to Argentinian heavyweights Boca Juniors. The 25-year-old has his heart set on a move back to South America with the aim of spending time with family after the death of his mother Viviana Di Pascua last week.
Torreira has played 15 times in La Liga for Atletico this season, with his last outing coming in the form of a substitute appearance against Athletic Bilbao in early March.
He did not feature against Sevilla on Sunday after being granted compassionate leave upon receiving the news of his mother’s passing ten days ago.
The midfielder admitted shortly afterwards that he was looking to call time on his career in Europe and join Boca, a club that has always been at the back of his mind when considering potential future destinations.
Arteta, who is preparing his Arsenal side to face Slavia Prague in Thursday’s Europa League quarter-final clash, claimed in Wednesday’s press conference that he can fully understand Torreira’s reasoning at such a difficult time in his life.
However, the Spaniard urged him to take a step back and revisit the situation with a clear mind in the near future, urging all parties to stay ‘tranquilo’, or calm, until a resolution can be found.
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“We have contacted him, we have spoken to him, we know how much of a difficult time this is for him,” Arteta told reporters.
“He was really attached to his Mum and with his family and it’s a hard time for him emotionally.
“There is a lot of thoughts and things that goes through his mind but… ‘tranquilo’. When things are like that it is not the moment to make decisions.
“I understand how he’s feeling emotionally, his need and responsibility to be closer to his family, but this is not the moment to make any decision.
“Certainly it’s a decision that will have to be made by different parties, and now nothing is going to change.”
Torreira’s father Ricardo previously issued an emotional statement in the wake of last week’s sad news, pleading with Arsenal to tear up his son’s contract and allow him to move closer to his family.
“Lucas is suffering a lot to be alone there in Europe,” he told Radio Continental. “We are seeing how we can be there with him until the end of the season.
“When you lose a person as happened to us, so dear, you realise that life passes you by the other side. If Lucas wants to come to Boca, let him come.
“We want to resolve Arsenal’s departure first and then sit down with Boca. If they believe it is convenient that Lucas is the player, they will exhaust the resources to reach an agreement.
“We raised the situation and it seems crazy, that playing in Europe and being able to win millions of dollars.
“If he happens to return to South America to play football, we are not crazy about ambition.”
At present, Torreira is set to see out the campaign with Atletico before featuring for Uruguay in this summer’s Copa America ahead of a return to Arsenal in time for next season.
He remains under contract until the summer of 2023, but it remains to be seen whether he can reach a compromise with the Gunners in the coming weeks and months.
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