Lucas Torreira has revealed that he decided to don the number 11 shirt at Arsenal just so he could sit alongside Mesut Ozil in the changing room.
The choice was met by some confusion when his squad number was announced following his £25m move from Sampdoria given his position as a defensive midfielder, but the 22-year-old opted for 11, as his first choice was already occupied.
Torreira was free to choose the 11 jersey after Ozil took over the number 10 following Jack Wilshere’s departure, and the Uruguay international recently explained his decision making process.
“I wanted to pick 34,” he told Sport 890. “But It was already taken by [Granit] Xhaka.
“I chose 11 because it’s the day of my birthday and I will get the chance to sit next to Mesut Ozil in the dressing room.
“It’s incredible when you go to the dressing room and see your locker is glued to that of Mesut Ozil who is a world champion and a player with a fantastic career.”
The midfielder returned to training following his extended summer break after World Cup duties earlier this week, and manager Unai Emery confirmed he is to play a part in Arsena’s pre-season friendly against Lazio on Saturday evening.
Emery said: “At the moment I am very happy with the players who are with here with us. There are more coming; Nacho Monreal, Lucas [Torreira] and [Granit] Xhaka will start to play some minutes on Saturday.”
On his first week with the Gunners, Torreira added: “I’m happy to be part of a team as important as Arsenal and play in the best league in the world.”
In other news, Arsenal have been dealt an injury blow ahead of the new season with full-back Sead Kolasinac set to be sidelined for eight to ten weeks after sustaining a knee injury during the pre-season friendly against Chelsea.