Mikel Arteta has revealed his admiration for Liverpool midfielder Thiago Alcantara, but refused to confirm whether or not Arsenal tried to sign him this summer.
Liverpool recently signed Thiago from Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to £25m, and it was later rumoured that Arsenal - along with Manchester United and Chelsea - wanted to bring in the Spain international before the deal was done.
The Gunners defeated Jurgen Klopp's side on penalties to lift the Community Shield at the start of the season, and now face them twice in quick succession as they lock horns in both the Premier League and Carabao Cup fourth round following Wednesday's win over Leicester.
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Asked if Arsenal tried to sign Thiago, Arteta said: "We don't discuss the things we try and do in the market, but I like him from my time in Barcelona.
"Incredible personality, great talent, very special, great qualities to play in midfield and yes, I think he is a great signing for Liverpool."
Arsenal have been in fine form since the end of June, winning the 2019/20 FA Cup and finding themselves unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions - winning seven - ahead of another huge test against the Premier League champions, who have won their opening two matches.
"The games we played at the Emirates [which Arsenal won 2-1] and the Shield were very different," Arteta added. "I think it will be different again. We know the standards they have set in this league and how consistent they have been.
"They dominate almost every aspect of the game. We need to be at our best, we need to compete really well and hopefully the boys are ready to do that on Monday."
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid are confident of securing a loan deal for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, in a move that could hold the key to the Gunners' chances of signing Thomas Partey.
Arteta insisted there was no updates on Torreira leaving the club, but was then asked about Arsenal's reported interest in Chelsea midfielder Jorginho, admitting that he is "getting prepared just in case" something happens.
However, the Arsenal boss admitted that any incomings would depend on certain players leaving.
"We're still open to improving our team," he said. "We are looking at different options, depending on what happens with some of our players here.
"We are getting prepared just in case we need to do something."
Summer transfer window - key dates and times
The summer transfer window closes at 11pm on Monday, October 5 with a feast of activity lined up on Transfer Deadline Day on Sky Sports News and across our Sky Sports platforms.
A domestic-only window for deals between the Premier League and EFL then runs from October 5 and closes on Friday, October 16 at 5pm. Follow all the news and analysis on SSN and across Sky Sports' digital platforms, including with our dedicated Transfer Centre blog.