A move in the offing throughout the summer window, in whatever capacity, Lucas Torreira was not expected to remain an north London beyond the summer.
Talk of bids from Italy and Spain were ever-present, yet the financial impact of COVID-19, and likely overambitious demands, culminated in the Uruguayan only leaving Arsenal on loan.
Atletico Madrid won the race and in terms of player profile matching a club, it appeared to be a perfect fit. However, despite starting on the opening La Liga weekend in a 2-0, that has been his only full 90 minute appearance, with his nine outings in all competitions accumulating to a meagre 213 minutes.
The deal included no buy option but it was felt that Torreira had the quality to stake a claim in Los Rojiblancos’ team long-term, which hasn’t materialised. Now, as per TuttoMercatoWeb, he’s set to return to Arsenal in January where the club will reassess his position, ideally with the intention of selling him permanently.
Diego Simeone will allow him to bring his disappointing spell to an abrupt end, with Torino among the sides interested in securing his signature. They were among the parties chasing his signature in the summer, but the pull of Champions League football proved too alluring.
A return to Serie A, and alongside his former manager Marco Giampaolo, appears most likely, although any hopes of accruing close to the £26m they paid Sampdoria back in 2018 can be forgotten about.
On the flip side, these claims are being refuted by Matteo Moretto, who has ties to Atletico. If they’re to be believed, then Simeone is happy having Torreira as a five-minute end-of-the-game type substitute for the whole season. Arsenal and the midfielder will feel otherwise.