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Better than Totti - Arsenal snubbed Argentine turns form around

Ricky Alvarez, once claimed to have signed for Arsenal, is enjoying the best form of his career so far at Inter Milan.

Let's rewind to summer 2011. 'Alvarez becomes first summer signing of the transfer window.' claimed The Metro.

Argentina's midfield boy wonder was coveted by clubs across Europe, and the gun had been jumped when the paper reported he had signed deal with Arsenal.

Alvarez signed a deal with Inter Milan instead, but it soon came to look as though the Gunners actually had a fortunate escape.

His debut season with Inter saw just 15 Serie A starts, while last year he made just 12, with three separate managers unsuccessfully attempting to recreate Jose Mourinho's 2010 success.

Last season when Inter played Tottenham in a televised Europa League game, his woeful showing caught the attention of Arsenal fans who discussed on Twitter how they 'dodged a bullet' by signing him.

If that was a low point, Alvarez has dramatically turned it around since then. He actually ended last season in good form, with four goals in his last eight games, moved into a new no. 10 role.

2013/14 has provided further evidence of the Argentine's renaissance.

Now 25, he is benefiting from staying healthy and being an automatic selection under new manager Walter Mazzari. He has continued in the role behind the striker, and has two goals and three assists in seven Serie A games - starting every one. Already just five less than the whole of last season.

Two of his assists came in crucial games against Juventus and Fiorentina, from which the Nerrazzuri amassed four points.

Opta powered statistical website whoscored.com rates Ricky Alvarez as the second best player in the whole of Serie A on performances so far this season.

The only player in front of him is 20-year-old Verona loanee who belongs to Porto, Juan Iturbe, who has played just three games.

Alvarez is developing in the role the Italians love to call the trequartista, and even outranking Francesco Totti, who himself is enjoying a glorious start to the season with Roma.

He has a higher pass completion ratio (89.4 vs 82), and completed 37 successful dribbles compared to Totti's eight. It is a figure not topped by anybody in the division.

Inter are currently exceeding expectations by sitting in fourth position, and Alvarez has been absolutely key to that start. But there is a real word of caution ahead.

The club's takeover by Indonesian billionaire Erick Thohir is likely to see them seek to make a big splash in the transfer market in January, and the position Alvarez inherits behind the striker is one of the glamour roles in which the club could try to bring in a big name.

Alvarez will have to continue his hot streak of form to show that he really is indispensable.

Check him out in action below:

image: © sheffieldfcarchive

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