Mikel Arteta has spoken of his admiration for Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in the build up to Arsenal’s important fixture with Brendan Rodgers’ Merseyside club.
The Spanish midfielder—who will return against the Reds after serving a one-match ban for receiving a red card in the tie with Crystal Palace—believes Anfield supporters are blessed to still boast the Uruguayan forward among their ranks, per Laurie Whitwell of the Daily Mail:
We always want the best players but Liverpool did very well to keep him.
He’s come back from suspension and he’s still on fire. He has good imagination and creates fear in the opposition because he is a player who doesn’t need much opportunity. And he’s very competitive.
Arteta built upon his praise even further, as noted by Darren Lewis of the Mirror:
It was very difficult for him because he had a lot of people against him and he was under massive pressure.
Last summer when everyone thought he was leaving, he still came back and put in some great performances.
I like players like this. When they are on the floor and everyone is on them they stand up and prove themselves and I admire that.
Despite currently sitting atop the Premier League, the Gunners’ quest for glory would have been significantly strengthened if the club’s summer bid for Suarez had initiated a deal.
As reported by James Olley of the London Evening Standard, Arsenal’s bid of £40 million plus £1 aimed to trigger a clause in the striker’s contract, but it wasn’t to be.
Instead, Arsene Wenger has been forced to utilise his only out-and-out strikers Olivier Giroud and Nicklas Bendtner.
While the latter continues to disappoint with fruitless and sporadic appearances, the former has scored seven goals in 12 games this season, per Who Scored—an impressive record that still fails to match Suarez’s output on a goals-to-games ratio.
Liverpool’s most important attacker has totted up six goals in four games since returning from his ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic. Alongside teammate Daniel Sturridge—who remains the Premier League’s top scorer—Liverpool’s so-called "SAS" partnership have the ability to rip through any defence in the division.
Arteta’s comments hint at such a realisation and thoughts turn to what could have been for Arsenal. With Suarez now rumoured for a January switch to Real Madrid, per James Dickenson of the Express, Wenger needs to quickly outline attacking reinforcements for his in-form side.
The Frenchman will have significant money to spend, per Gary Jones of the Daily Star, and showed he isn’t afraid to drop large funds on world-class talents with the recent capture of Mesut Ozil.
Another signing of this proportion is needed if the Gunners are to make good on their potential and claim their first silverware in nine years.