Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez has opened up on his nightmare loan spell at Arsenal, claiming he was not “even at 50%” of his full capacity.
The 25-year-old signed for the Gunners on a sixth-month loan back in January, but only managed to appear six times in total across all competitions.
The Spanish playmaker suffered with a persistent pelvic injury throughout his time in the Premier League, which left him reduced to a bit-part role under Unai Emery.
Suarez is due to return to Barca this summer and has two years remaining on his contract with the Spanish champions, but has already expressed a desire to leave in search of regular football.
Reflecting on his short time with Arsenal, the Blaugrana misfit pinpoints a knock suffered in his second game for the club during a Europa League clash against BATE Borisov as a decisive moment.
Suarez told Cadena Ser: “At the end of the game I thought that I had torn my groin and they did a scan and saw that I had an oedema [a build-up of fluid] on the bone in my pelvis.
“I thought I had torn something; I was in a lot of pain. And from then on I carried on training with medication and putting up with it as best I could but I didn’t feel right and [Unai] Emery didn’t think I was right.
“I wasn’t comfortable. I don’t think I was even at 50%. After 15 days of being at Arsenal, I wasn’t right. From the 16th I wasn’t even at 50%.”
He went on to hint that a hectic schedule played its part in his fitness woes in the days after his arrival in London, adding: “When I went to Arsenal, I remember that I got there on a Thursday.
“That Sunday I played against Manchester City. Then we had a break because of the FA Cup. Emery gave us some days off that weekend, [but] I stayed to train.
“On Thursday at Bate Borisov, I played.”
A year Suarez describes as one “to forget” began at Camp Nou, where he only managed eight appearances for Barca between August and January amid more niggling injuries.
He has not been disheartened by a testing period in his career, however, resolving to pick himself up quickly and learn from his mistakes.
“But I take some positives from it,” Suarez said. “It’s something to learn from, to take better decisions in the future, prevent injuries, and to improve.”