Arsene Wenger hailed Alexis Sanchez’s versatility as the driving force behind his big money acquisition this summer, and the Walcott-esk abilities the attacker possesses.
The Gunners enjoyed a lengthy run at the top of the Premier League last season but saw their title challenge collapse with injuries decimating the squad of their pace.
Many of Wenger’s best sides have relied on penetrating players who can run in behind opponents defences, and Arsenal’s over-reliance on Walcott for their pace injection and Olivier Giroud the only experienced option up front, Wenger was forced to spend big in the transfer market this summer.
Sanchez was identified by the Gunners boss as the number one attacking reinforcement due to the Chilean’s versatility in attack. He can play anywhere across the front three and adds some much needed pace to the Gunners striking options.
The Arsenal boss spoke to reporters ahead of this weekends Emirates Cup pre-season tournament:
He is a striker and he’s a good finisher. He made a great impression in Italy [with Udinese] – I saw him there and he was really outstanding.
Then at Barcelona it was a bit more difficult. But it’s like you could see with Neymar at Barcelona, because there you have Messi. You see Neymar with Brazil and Neymar with Barcelona and it’s not the same. I like the fact he can play left, right, up front and that’s why I went for him.
At the moment I want to see him in both positions. But I took him because he is a player who has the qualities of Walcott, he goes behind the defenders off the ball. And with the quality of his runs he can be very important for us.
Wenger confirmed the former Barcelona forward is in line to make his debut in Arsenal colours this weekend after joining up with the first-team squad on Friday.
I will try to give him some part on Sunday and then maybe even a few minutes tomorrow.
Like many of you, I’m very excited about seeing our new signings in action today and tomorrow, especially Sanchez who we hope can be the missing piece of our attacking puzzle.
His versatility will be key when it comes to accommodating all of our attacking talents. He will most likely begin the campaign in Walcott’s boots on the right flank, however when the Englishman returns to fitness we may get a chance to see the Chile star in action up front.
Wenger has plenty of options to play with, especially with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Serge Gnabry coming up through the ranks. With a long season ahead, the Gunners boss will need to utilize each and everyone of his attackers.
Sanchez’s link up with Mesut Ozil is perhaps the most exciting part to look forward to. Unfortunately the German is still a way off returning to Arsenal training, enjoying a lengthy rest after his World Cup winning exploits.
Are you looking forward to seeing the Chilean at Emirates Cup this weekend? Share your thoughts below..