Mikel Arteta says he fully understands why Lucas Torreira would want to move back to South America following the death of the player’s mother from Covid-19 last week.
However, he believes time is needed before any decisions are made, with the 25 year old in an emotional place as he grieves her loss.
The manager said that the club had reached out to him to offer support, but when pressed about the comments in which Torreira expressed a desire to play for Boca Juniors, Arteta insisted more time was needed.
“I understand how he’s feeling emotionally,” he said.
“He probably feels the need and responsibility to be closer to his family. But it’s not the moment to make any decisions and it certainly is a decision that has to be made by different parties.
“Now, nothing is going to change. It’s just an interview with some comments. Let’s see what happens.”
Torreira is a player who could generate much needed funds with a transfer this summer, but again, when asked about the balance between the player’s desire and the club’s needs, Arteta was keen to wait until things have become a bit more stable.
“It’s something that’s very common because players go through different stages in their careers with emotional moments,” he said.
“These things happen and we have to deal with that. We know that when you recruit a player from a foreign country, when they have that struggle sometimes to adapt to a new culture, a new language, a new way of doing things.
“This risk is there and then you have to be able to manage that risk and make the right decisions at the right time.”
Torreira will see out the season with Atletico Madrid, before taking part in the Copa America this summer – after which, you assume, big decisions will be made about what happens next.
Let’s hope he can feel better soon after such a devastating loss.