AC Milan have opened talks with a new target after their hopes of signing Lucas Torreira from Arsenal were dashed following a change of heart by the Gunners.
The Serie A giants were said to be very keen on landing the 23-year-old with the Uruguayan emerging as the top target for prospective new coach Marco Giampaolo at the San Siro.
And with Torreira having excelled under him at Sampdoria, rumours have gathered pace in recent days that Arsenal could be prepared to part company with the tigerish South American after just one year at the club.
Torreira moved to the Emirates last summer in a £26million deal from Sampdoria and the Uruguayan’s combative style quickly made him a fans’ favourite.
But, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, Milan are desperate to bring Torreira back to Serie A this summer with Tuttosport claiming Milan have offered Franck Kessie in a straight swap deal.
While Kessie was a key player under previous coach Gennaro Gattuso, it’s thought the new broom do not rate the Ivorian and are prepared to let him move on.
However, Arsenal – having weighed up the merits of a swap deal – have decided against the chance to sign Kessie and, according to Il Gazzetta dello Sport, have responded by taking Torreira off the market and informing his suitors that he will stay at Emirates Stadium this season.
The Italian newspaper claims Milan have already moved on from the snub too; they say the Italians have already targeted Stefani Sensi of Sassuolo as an alternative, with talks over a deal already said to be underway.
Unai Emery and co, however, will need to have clear-the-air talks with their midfield star, after he admitted his failure to settle in north London.
“I moved from the Italian championship to a totally different style of football and life,” Torreira told reporters.
“We all know England and the Premier, I made a very important leap in terms of football because in the Arsenal we played four competitions while in Sampdoria I was used to playing only two: Serie A and Coppa Italia I had to get used to playing every three days, this is very difficult, unfortunately we were not able to qualify directly in the Champions League and we failed the final of the Europa League.
“Losing that final was very difficult, not only for us, but also for the club. All in all, for me the balance was positive and I am satisfied, satisfied with what I did this season.
“England? I don’t know if there are many things that I like. I think I was doing better in Italy. England is a completely different world, a very large country. It cost me a lot to learn the language to be able to relate with colleagues and people.
“It becomes very difficult if you can’t have dialogue. And then, there is time. You go out in the morning and it is cloudy, you come home in the afternoon and it is cloudy. The sun is a bit strange in these parts, we are not from here and we are used to always, or almost always, the sun. Over the years I will adapt.”
Arsenal always wanted to keep Torreira, but with their transfer budget tight, Emery is likely to have to sell a star asset if he’s to land his targets this summer. A deal for one of those – Yannick Carrasco – appears to have fallen through.
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