Arsenal have reportedly asked to include Lucas Torreira in a deal to sign Thomas Partey as Atletico Madrid try to take the Uruguayan to the Spanish capital. It had been thought Torreira was headed to Italy to join up with Torino on an initial season-long loan which would then turn into a permanent switch in 2021.
Arsenal want £22million to release the 24-year-old, who is out of favour under Mikel Arteta, who prefers Dani Ceballos and Granit Xhaka in his starting midfield.
Torreira has not even made the bench for either of their first two Premier League matches against Fulham and West Ham.
But it has been claimed that Torino have complicated negotiations by looking to insert specific clauses into any loan deal.
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The suggestions are that the Serie A club do not want to commit to paying £22m for the Uruguay international permanently unless he manages a certain number of appearances, goals and assists and international call-ups.
They also want to ensure they qualify for the Europa League with Torreira, despite having finished down in 16th last term, just five points off the relegation zone.
How many clauses are activated over the next 12 months would determine how much the Italian side pay for Torreira, who has spent a little over two seasons at Arsenal but has seen his stock decline since an impressive first campaign under Unai Emery.
And as per Spanish outlet El Gol Digital, La Liga heavyweights Atletico Madrid are looking to pounce and Diego Simeone has made phone calls to Arsenal about signing Torreira.
The Argentine coach is keen to bring in a new midfielder and likes the profile and combative nature of his fellow South American.
But Atletico are also in discussions with Espanyol to sign Marc Roca, who they could land for around £13.7m (€15m).
It’s said that if Arsenal’s demands were to exceed that fee, as they undoubtedly will, a straight cash move for Torreira is virtually dead in the water.
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But with the north London side keen to offload Torreira, Arsenal have reportedly requested that the former Sampdoria man be used to help take Thomas Partey to the Emirates.
Arteta, who also likes Lyon’s creative midfielder Houssem Aouar, has long admired Partey as he looks to sign a midfield general to add extra steel to his team’s spine.
The Ghanaian, 27, has however proven out of reach due to the £45m release clause that Atletico are insistent must be exercised for him to leave.
But their interest in Torreira could help the Gunners, who may hope a player-plus-cash deal is possible despite reports Los Rojiblancos rejected a bid from Arsenal that included Matteo Guendouzi plus a fee for Partey earlier in the window.
Atletico are said to need to raise cash themselves in order to make signings, with Partey, Thomas Lemar and Diego Costa the three main options available to Simeone to generate funds.
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Simeone does not want to lose Partey with Atletico having tabled a new contract to the defensive-minded midfielder, which remains unsigned.
But if he wants to recruit Torreira, possibly even in addition to Roca, then Arsenal’s valuation means he will have to sell players – and he may be forced into parting ways with Partey.
It has previously been claimed the African would be receptive about a move to the Premier League after five years as a member of the first-team squad at Atletico.
Arsenal have spent around £40m so far this summer, adding Gabriel Magalhaes and Willian to the squad while making Pablo Mari and Cedric Soares’ loan moves permanent and re-signing Dani Ceballos on loan from Real Madrid for another 12 months.
Those arrivals have been offset by the £20m departure of Emiliano Martinez to Aston Villa and the cancellation of Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s contract so he could join Roma for free.
Calum Chambers, Sead Kolasinac and Sokratis Papastathopoulos are among the other Arsenal players that Arteta could allow to leave permanently to bring more cash in.
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