Arsenal’s defensive midfield is very one-dimensional, so adding Papa Gueye would add the completely opposite dimension and complete the spectrum.
I think it’s safe to say we all love Lucas Torreira. The gritty little Uruguayan bulldog that tries to make tackles with his head while grounded. I don’t think I will ever forget that. But I think it’s also safe to say that Arsenal cannot rest all of their defensive midfield hopes on this one guy. Hence Papa Gueye.
Torreira and Gueye would make the perfect partnership. And in case you haven’t noticed, the last four Arsenal managers have had one hell of a time figuring out the perfect midfield partnership. Or trio, for that matter. The closest we had was Torreira/Granit Xhaka/Matteo Guendouzi, but that has petered out as well.
Gueye and Torreira have a lot of contrasting traits, but they boast the right similarities as well. The obvious is just in physical size. Gueye is tall and strong, Torreira is small and gritty. Torreira is right-footed, Gueye is left-footed. Already, we are seeing the sense of this move, aren’t we? (Smile and nod.)
That’s where the similarities come into play. Both have been compared to N’Golo Kante, though Gueye also gets compared to Pogba for his size and athleticism.
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Obviously, Torreira is no slouch in the athleticism department. Both of these guys cover a lot of ground, they play the game fearlessly, they attack the ball, and while they are primarily defensive midfielders who should be counted on to sweep up opposing attacks and protect this back line, they also possess the capacity to drive forward.
Though they will find most of their usefulness leaning on outlets to provide that part of play, perhaps to our sudden stable of able-bodied wingers or a box-to-box like Matteo Guendouzi. Or, you guessed it, to the visionary Granit Xhaka.
Even if Gueye and Torreira don’t end up in the same midfield, having another option to call on besides Torreira is going to be good for everyone, including Torreira. It’s clear that, while he’s a wonderful player, he isn’t going to be able to shore of the defensive element of this midfield on his own.
Give me a midfield with Torreira, Gueye and Xhaka though, at the top of their game, and you’ve uncovered something beautiful, solid, and completely devoid of shenanigans. That’s a force to be reckoned with, and it’s something you can built around for a long time.