Anyone who has had the pleasure of watching Marco Verratti dominate a game of football from the centre of the park will tell you that the expectations, and huge price tag, are entirely justified.
Barcelona legend Xavi may have been one of a kind but there’s little doubt that his Italian protégé is the closest thing the modern game has seen to a midfielder capable of replacing the 2010 World Cup winner. No wonder, then, that Barca spent the early part of the summer desperately attempting to convince Verratti to step into Xavi’s shoes at the Camp Nou.
The Mail reported in June that Paris Saint-Germain, however, would demand up to £88 million for the world’s most talented young midfielder before the whole Neymar saga got in the way and ensured the diminutive Italian would have at least another year in France.
Therefore, it speaks volumes about Lucas Torreira’s potential that the scout who discovered his talents admits that there is a growing feeling that he can be even better than the PSG superstar.
“He lives for football. He’s incredible. He’s like Verratti,” Roberto Druda told Calciomercato. “Massimo Oddo (Torreira’s coach at former club Sampdoria) and many others are convinced that Torreira can be even stronger than Marco Verratti.”
“I see him ready with the brain he has, in addition to his technical skills and potential. It is extraordinary.”
Joining Sampdoria on a permanent basis for just £1.5 million last summer, Torreira has gone from strength to strength in Serie A and, despite his 5ft 4in frame, dominated AC Milan powerhouse Franck Kessie as the Genoa side secured a well-deserved 2-0 Serie A victory on Sunday.
No wonder, then, that Everton have kept a close eye on the Uruguayan’s development. Tuttomercatoweb reported in March that The Toffees had sent scouts to watch Torreira and his then-Samp team-mate Patrick Schick in action.
And, if Torreira does turn out to be better or at least equal to Verratti, Everton must continue to keep an eye on Serie A’s latest rising star.