Arsene Wenger has heaped praise on Luis Suarez ahead of Arsenal’s Champions League last-16 showdown with Barcelona on Tuesday.
The Gunners boss insists he no longer dreams about what could have happened if he signed the Uruguayan from Liverpool in 2013, when he had a bid rejected, but he remains an admirer from afar.
Wenger admits he is very wary of Barca’s lethal attacking trio of Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar but says Arsenal will do all they can to keep them at bay in the first leg at the Emirates this week.
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"I used to think, ‘What if I signed Luis Suarez’ before, but not now," Wenger said.
"He gives camaraderie to a team. He did it at Liverpool and he did it playing with Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan for Uruguay, and did it well.
"Suarez is the kind of guy who manages to create that spirit in teams. Apart from the individual talent the three have, they also have a good understanding, cohesion and great solidarity.
"I have seen that Lionel Messi gave the ball to Suarez from a penalty, because he wanted him to be the best goal-scorer.
"When you see someone like Messi – who had the opportunity to score his 300th goal – do that, it means there’s really something there.
"Individually, all their players are difficult to stop. We have to find a way to do it collectively. We have to analyse what we do and do it well and together. We have to keep Suarez quiet on Tuesday night."
Instead of Suarez, Wenger captured Alexis Sanchez from Barca in 2014 and the Chilean is set to start against his former club after recovering from a hamstring injury.
And Wenger said: "Don’t worry about Tuesday, he’ll be tuned in. He is about focus, Sanchez.
"I don’t think he was completely ready to come on [against Hull in the FA Cup on Saturday]. It looked like that, but he grows with the game.
"He has a game based on risk and so when he’s not completely, completely highly tuned in, it becomes dangerous."