Galatasaray signs Napoli icon Mertens, Arsenal’s Torreira

Galatasaray has completed the signing of Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira and Belgium forward Dries Mertens, the Turkish Süper Lig side announced Monday.

Saddled with heavy debts and a tight budget, Galatasaray struggled to 13th in the league last season.

Fans of the record 22-time Turkish champion welcomed the two players at an airport on Sunday as they arrived for final medical checks.

Mertens is 35 years old but joins after nine influential seasons with Napoli, where the versatile winger became the club’s all-time top scorer. He netted 148 goals in all competitions for the Serie A side.

“It was an honor to get an offer from Galatasaray,” Mertens said in a Twitter post. “I’m happy and excited.”

Mertens joins the Turkish side on a free transfer and has signed a contract that will keep him in Istanbul until 2023.

Torreira joins Galatasaray on a four-year contract. No financial details were given but the transfer is reported to be worth about 5 million pounds ($6.04 million).

Torreira, 26, won an FA Cup with Arsenal and then La Liga on loan with Atletico Madrid. He also impressed in Serie A last season where he played 35-times on loan at Fiorentina.

“I’m very happy with the decision I made, it was a well-thought one,” Torreira told the club’s TV. “I’m looking forward to starting this new adventure.”

“The most important thing is to try to get used to the city, also to get to know the club, my teammates. I want to train already.”

Torreira joined Arsenal in July 2018 from Sampdoria and made nearly 90 appearances for the Premier League club.

He spent the last two seasons on loan – firstly at Atletico Madrid, helping them to their 2020-21 LaLiga title, and then with a return to Serie A by joining Fiorentina.

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