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Mikel Arteta has hinted Philippe Coutinho was among a number of creative midfielders Arsenal contemplated signing in the summer.
A return to the Premier League, however, appears to have sparked the 29-year-old back into life and a reunion with his former Reds captain, Steven Gerrard, at Aston Villa has seen him score four times in 10 matches for his new club.
The Gunners were regularly linked with a move for the Brazil international over the course of his ill-fated spell in Catalonia but Mikel Arteta instead opted to sign Martin Odegaard instead.
Asked whether he considered signing Coutinho in the summer ahead of tomorrow’s match at Villa, Arteta said: We looked at many different players with qualities that he obviously had and in the end, we went with a different option.’
‘He’s one of them,’ added Arteta when asked how much of a threat the playmaker would pose to his own side.
‘Obviously the team activates a lot of things when he’s on the ball and he’s in dangerous areas. He’s contributed a lot when he’s in their attacking phase, so obviously it’s something that he need to bear in mind.
‘His ability to create goals, and to create chances, and to unlock spaces when they don’t exist. That’s a quality that he had (and continues to have), when he was at Liverpool.’
Arteta, meanwhile was full of praise for the way in which Gerrard has turned Villa’s fortunes around since succeeding Dean Smith, following a successful spell at the Spaniard’s former club, Rangers.
He said: ‘He was a terrific player, really intelligent. He had everything. He had aggression, he had the quality, he had the goal threat, he had the leadership, the presence on the pitch, he was tough.
‘I think he’s got on very, very well so far and what he did at Rangers I think it’s remarkable and I don’t know if he gets the credit that he should do because I’ve played there,
I know how that club goes and how he turned it around and what he’s done at Villa, so I think so far he’s done really well.’
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Source: Metro Sport