Lucas Torreira issued a sarcastic response to Arsenal after the club deprived him of his shirt number and it handed it to his teammate Gabriel Martinelli.
The north London club's new strip is on sale with Mike Arteta's side set to wear it for the first time in their final Premier League game of the season on Sunday, at home to Everton. The release of the new shirt has coincided with Brazilian forward Martinelli being handed a new shirt number at the club.
The club revealed a squad number change for Martinelli next season which suggests he could be set for a more prominent role. The young Brazilian has worn the number 35 shirt since signing for the Gunners but he will now be Arsenal's new number 11 – suggesting that he now has higher status and more prominence at the club.
There was just one issue with that – the number 11 shirt already had an occupant: Martinelli’s teammate Torreira. The combative midfielder is concluding his season-long loan spell at Fiorentina, where he has netted five goals in 34 appearances.
The Uruguayan was signed by Unai Emery in the summer of 2018 and made 89 first-team appearances across his first two seasons at the club before falling out of prominence under Emery’s successor Arteta. He was subsequently loaned out to Atletico Madrid last season and spent this campaign at Fiorentina in Italy.
Torreira occupied the number 11 shirt during his time at Arsenal and his response to the Martinelli announcement on Arsenal’s social media suggests that he was not made aware by the club that a change was taking place. The Uruguayan wrote: “What number will I wear next year?” Torreira went on to clarify: “Good luck amigo @gabriel.martinelli I love you.”
It is clear that the central midfielder shares a strong relationship with Martinelli and was being more than a little sarcastic in his response. It is the latest indicator that he will not be part of Arteta’s plans next season but does suggest that the club did not update him of the development.
Torreira was one of several arrivals at The Emirates in the 2018/19 campaign - the first after Arsene Wenger had left the club - who did not work out in the long-term. The arrivals of Stephan Lichtsteiner, Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Denis Suarez were all temporary, while Matteo Guendouzi also appears to have little future at the North London club as he looks set to join Marseille on a permanent basis.
Having arrived from Sampdoria for a £26million fee three years ago, it appears impossible that the Gunners will recoup anywhere near that amount if they can facilitate his exit this summer.
Martinelli is one of a host of exciting young attackers to impress under Arteta this season, along with Martin Odegaard, Bukayo Saka, and Emile Smith-Rowe. However, Arsenal are currently facing an attacking rebuild in the summer with both Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah set to depart as free agents.
Martinelli has already been with Arsenal for three years, but the 20-year-old has already proclaimed he would love to spend his entire career with the club. The young forward insists the Gunners are a 'giant team' that have to return to the Champions League and compete for trophies, although Arteta's side look set to miss out on a top-four finish following successive defeats to Newcastle United and Tottenham.