The Uruguayan was signed from Sampdoria in the summer, and went on to impress at the World Cup before joining Arsenal, where he has made appearances in each of the club’s first four Premier League games, though all from the bench so far.
Arguably, Arsenal have yet to find an adequate replacement at defensive midfield since Gilberto left the club in 2008, but Torreira is the signing meant to change that record, and he has his predecessor’s backing.
“I watched him in the World Cup,” Gilberto told Goal.
“He did a very good job. If you see the way he plays, he plays the game very simply, he makes things easy for himself on the field.
“He gives protection to the back four and support to the guys up front, he tries to find the best spot to be in. The protective instinct is very natural for him.
“Before he arrived none of the other players were the kind who would sit in front of the back four. It’s a hard job, not everyone wants this job.”
Gilberto was asked about Kante, who won two straight Premier League titles in 2015-16 and 2016-17, with Leicester City and then Chelsea respectively. The Frenchman went on to form part of the fulcrum of France’s World Cup-winning side this summer, and is now generally recognised as one of the top practitioners of his role in the game.
“Of course, you have Kante at Chelsea,” Gilberto said.
“He’s a small player. It’s about how smart they are to play in this position, to find the best ball to give, play nice and simple.”
The Brazilian believes Torreira can have the same impact as the more-feted Kante.
“I hope so. The Premier League is not easy. You have to work hard to be considered a top player and progress game to game, season to season.
“But he’s got the potential. We saw that at the World Cup, where he did a great job for Uruguay.
“Not only this position but football has changed a lot. The way it’s played, the passion of the Premier League, it’s totally different from 10-15 years ago but you have to try and adapt.”
England defender Harry Maguire has signed a new five-year contract with Leicester, the Foxes have announced.
The 25-year-old joined Leicester from Hull in the summer of 2017 and played every minute of their Premier League campaign last season before helping England reach the World Cup semi-finals.
Maguire, who Manchester United were reportedly interested in over the summer, said on Leicester’s official website: “Ever since I came to this club, I’ve always reiterated how good they’ve been to me.
“They gave me an opportunity to play in the Premier League and built a great platform for me to go and perform at the World Cup, so I thank them a lot. I owe them a lot and I’m looking forward to the future.”
The Belgian earned the ire of Blues fans after failing to report for pre-season training, which was viewed as an attempt to force through a transfer.
“It makes me feel sad. Obviously they don’t know all the truth,” he told reporters after Belgium’s 4-0 win over Scotland on Friday.
Courtois alluded to the fact that he had decided to reject Chelsea’s contract offer back in March, and thus expected the club to work quickly to secure a transfer that would give them good value for their player.
“I think in March the decision was already made and I thought the club would accept it,” said the 26-year-old.
“Then because the transfer was close I didn’t show up [to training] because I thought it was better not to disturb the squad. I didn’t want it to be toxic.
“Obviously it’s a pity because I love Chelsea. I loved playing there.”
Courtois’ decision to kiss the Real Madrid badge when he was unveiled at his new club also incensed Chelsea fans, as did his comments earlier this week when he praised the “higher level” of Madrid training.
However, he issued a clarification regarding the latter statement, saying it was not intended as a swipe at the Premier League club.
“I never meant that. I just said that maybe in training it goes a little bit faster,” he said.
“But that’s also the quality of Real Madrid, that’s not saying Chelsea doesn’t have quality. I always give back a happy feeling to Chelsea.”
Despite some of the flak he’s copped, Courtois remains content with his decision to leave the Blues, and wishes his old club well.
“I had a chance to go back to Spain to be closer to my kids and that was important to me.
“I know a lot of Chelsea fans will understand my decision and I wish them the best. I am happy they have won the first four games and I hope they go on and win the league.”