Arsenal boss Unai Emery wanted Steven Nzonzi instead of Lucas Torreira

Lucas Torreira has proved a popular figure with Arsenal fans (Picture: Getty)

Lucas Torreira was not Unai Emery’s first choice to strengthen in central midfield last summer with the Spaniard keen on France star Steven Nzonzi instead.

The Uruguayan joined the club from Sampdoria in a deal worth around £22million and he became a popular figure during an impressive debut campaign at the Emirates last term.

Torreira’s tenacity has won over the bulk of Arsenal’s support but Emery had concerns about his height, frame and physical capabilities.

Instead, claim the Athletic, Emery wanted to sign Nzonzi as he’d worked with him at Sevilla and was positive that the Frenchman’s previous experience in the Premier League would help him settle quicker.

Nzonzi worked with Emery at Sevilla (Picture: Getty)

However, Nzonzi is seven years Torreira’s senior and the Frenchman would have had little sell-on value.

Instead, Arsenal’s recruitment team pitched a persuasive argument to Emery to convince him to sign Torreira and he conceded that it was the correct decision.

Torreira is expected to start this weekend as Arsenal take on fierce rivals Tottenham at the Emirates.

The midfielder’s standout performance last term came in the Gunners’ 4-2 win against Spurs last December.

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