Why Lucas Torreira will be the perfect long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets
It goes without saying that Sergio Busquets is one of the most important players for Barcelona. For more than a decade, the legendary midfielder has been the heartbeat of his team.
Many argue that Busquets is close to the level of other Barcelona greats such as Gerard Pique and Andres Iniesta. He might be slow, but his other abilities compensate for most of his weaknesses.
Busquets' excellent passing, well-timed tackles and intelligence are things that made the 30-year-old the gold standard for every defensive midfielder in the world. Barcelona have been lucky to have a player like Busquets who also has superb fitness levels. The Spaniard has very rarely suffered serious injuries in his career.
Unfortunately though, Busquets’ excellent fitness level might be making Barcelona too comfortable in their defensive midfield position, as the Spaniard has now become their only anchor-type player. So it's probably good news that a report has come out stating the Catalans' interested in signing Lucas Torreira.
At just 24 years of age, the Arsenal player has got what it takes to become Busquets' long-term replacement.
Busquets' contribution to Barcelona’s attack has been somewhat lacking this season, even by a midfielder's standards. The Spaniard has bagged just a single assist and zero league goals for the Catalans despite being a regular under Ernesto Valverde.
On the other hand, Torreira has been able to net two league goals and provide two assists for his team despite Unai Emery benching him several times. This ability to provide attacking impetus will improve Barcelona’s overall sharpness and help the team when they are desperate for goals.
Most would agree that Busquets is best at defending. He has been a vital player in starting most of Barcelona’s attacks as he can easily dispossess the opponents. Fortunately, Torreira has also got what it takes to become one of the best anchormen for the Catalans.
The Uruguayan has been able to create an average of 2.1 tackles and 1.2 intercepts per game for Arsenal, just slightly fewer than Busquets. Torreira has also already showcased his defensive capabilities when he stopped goalscoring machines such as Cristiano Ronaldo at the World Cup.
Torreira is an excellent passer and can replicate Busquets' ball distribution capabilities. The Uruguayan has been able to complete 87.9 percent of his passes in the league, just slightly lower than the Spaniard's ratio.
Torreira's average amount of key passes in the league is the same as Busquets'. This ability will enable him to help Barcelona in building their attacks. The Uruguayan is also excellent at set pieces and could serve as a backup for Lionel Messi in dead ball situations.
Torreira’s small stature could be his main weakness. The 24-year-old has winning much fewer aerial duels than Busquets; he has only gained 0.6 aerials on average compared to the Spaniard’s 1.5.
With his weak aerial capabilities, Torreira would be less versatile than Busquets because he would not be suitable to play as a center-back.
Torreira could cover most of Busquets' responsibilities, even though his small stature would likely hinder him to completely emulate the 30-year-old's presence. The Uruguayan could also improve Barcelona's sharpness and is quicker than the Spaniard.
By most accounts, Torreira will be suitable as Busquets' long-term replacement because of his young age.