Uruguay international Lucas Torreira was signed from Serie A side Sampdoria in a £27 million deal that is already looking like a bargain just a couple of months down the line.
Torreira was eased into things by Unai Emery as the south American was given time to adjust to his new surroundings, but has now firmly established himself in the side with a series of performances that have seen him become a massive fan favourite already at the Emirates.
With Torreira in the side, Arsenal have scored 23 goals in 641 minutes of football this season and conceded just four. But without him they have conceded 10 in 439 minutes and only found the net nine times themselves.
The midfielder’s impact can’t be underestimated. Not just on the team but on individuals as well – with no player benefiting more than Granit Xhaka.
“Lucas gives us good balance in the team between offence and defence,” said Xhaka, as he prepared for Thursday night’s Europa League game against Sporting CP in Lisbon.
“He lets me play my game with the ball and go a bit more in front. I am happy with him.
“You can see that he’s important for us because he’s strong in defence and in duels. He can play easily from side to side and going forward, he helps with our balance.”
With Torreira now firmly established in the starting XI, Arsenal’s defensive record has improved dramatically in recent weeks.
They have conceded just twice in their last five games, keeping three clean sheets in the process.