Arsenal believe that Atletico Madrid are sabotaging Lucas Torreira's transfer value by hardly playing him during his loan spell, according to reports in Spain.
Torreira joined Los Rojiblancos back in October, with Thomas Partey moving in the other direction. Since arriving, he has barely featured, making just three starts in all competitions.
After Diego Simeone moved to a 3-5-2 shape two months ago, Torreira has found himself behind the likes of Koke, Hector Herrera and November arrival Geoffrey Kondogbia in the pecking order - the latter of whom Atletico received special dispensation to sign outside of the transfer window after Partey departed.
According to Liberta Digital, his lack of playing time is starting to frustrate his parent club. There was no option to buy clause included in Torreira's loan agreement and the report suggests that Atleti are trying to drive down the player's value.
As well as having potential benefits if they decide to make the move permanent in the summer, there could be another reason for Simeone's dastardly plan. It is well known that El Cholo was left fuming when Arsenal triggered Partey's release clause at the eleventh hour, so Atleti may be dishing out some (rather expensive) revenge.
The Gunners are reportedly ready to 'take measures' if the situation persists, with Fiorentina said to be interested on loaning the player. However, his agent recently insisted that he was ready to fight for his place at Atletico.
Simeone's side has fared very well despite Torreira's limited involvement so far this season and currently sit top of the table, having lost just once in La Liga. What's more, they have two games in hand over rivals Real Madrid and could stretch their lead at the top to eight points if they win them both.
Los Rojiblancos are also through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where they will face Chelsea in February.
Source : 90min