Despite their reported interest, Arsenal could be content with not catching a glimpse of Orlando City winger Facundo Torres when Uruguay take on Ghana in the World Cup on Friday. The Group H finale has the makings of the game of the tournament so far, given the bitter history between the two nations, and Torres could make a serious name for himself.
The 22-year-old forward, who commonly plays on the left side of Orlando’s attack, has been the subject of heavy links to Arsenal in recent months. But he is yet to play a single minute of Uruguay’s 2022 campaign and, given the stakes involved in Friday’s clash, may not feature in the group stage altogether.
That said, while Arsenal will continue to watch to see how Torres fares on the biggest stage, they may secretly be pleased if he watches on from the bench again. The Gunners are his most prominent suitors, but his stock could soar higher than ever if he takes to the field and makes a decisive impact that sends Uruguay into the knockout stages.
If Mikel Arteta and Edu are eyeing a January deal, Orlando will likely demand more than the £7.8million fee they paid Penarol for his signature in January. And any eye-catching contribution at the World Cup in Qatar could boost his valuation further.
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Torres made a slow start to life in the MLS but went on to register nine goals and eight assists in 33 appearances in his debut season. The exciting South American also scored four and assisted two in six cup games and is considered one of the most talented players in the US.
He caught Arsenal’s eye further by netting against Arteta’s side during pre-season and has been scouted since, particularly impressing with his versatility, featuring across the front line and as an attacking midfielder.
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Orlando technical director Ricardo Moreira drooled over Torres earlier this year, heaping praise on the club for the investment. He said: “We see [Facundo’s] growth into the league, his understanding of the league, his understanding of the physicality and speed required has been amazing.
“He’s a guy where all I have to say is that the sky is the limit. Kudos to the Wilf family, who helped us make such an investment, because I think it’s all paying off today, tonight. There’s more to come from him, and I hope we can stay with Facundo as long as we can.”
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