Alexis Sanchez’s signing has turned out to be a masterstroke. All the ingredients were there – he had speed, immense skill and an incredible hard working mentality. He is a true world class player and the sealing the deal even came as a surprise to Arsene Wenger.
The Gunners have been in the market for a clinical, speedy attacker to supplement Olivier Giroud and someone who is a proven goalscorer. It seemed bizarre Barcelona were prepared to offload Alexis who certainly was not goal-shy but was unhappy at not being a regular feature in the star studded Catalan lineup.
Arsenal tried and failed to get Liverpool’s prolific striker Luis Suarez in the summer of 2013, however his departure to Barcelona in-turn aided the acquisition of Alexis who wanted to improve with regular game time and become integral at a Champions League club.
Wenger, speaking at his pre-match press conference, revealed how he managed to secure the £35m man, confirming he met with Alexis’ representatives while working at the World Cup this summer.
The Gunners boss said:
I met his agent in Brazil a few times. We could talk about the transfer and in Europe we talked with Barcelona once we got his decision that he wanted to join us, and it happened.
He came out from a period where he maybe didn’t have the number of games he wanted at Barcelona. I just tried, like every manager, to convince the player that you can help him to develop the quality of his game, that the way we play football would suit him and that’s why I think he has chosen us in the end.
Wenger admits he was surprised but very happy the Chile star joined Arsenal with other top clubs interested, but feels it boiled down to the consistency of the club’s performances and continued participation in the Champions League that helped sway the deal.
The Frenchman also discussed his interest in Luis Suarez last summer and suggested a lack of desire from the player was not able to sway the deal as it had with Alexis.
As well, we have continuity. All the player wants to do is play in the Champions League – it is quite simple. We have quite a good continuity on that front.
We were interested in Suarez last year. He scored 40 goals for Liverpool and that’s part of the competition. At the end of the day, every great player has a choice to go where he wants today.
Alexis has chosen us – we are very happy for that and I’m not sure that Liverpool was in. I don’t know why he has chosen us and not anybody else, but we are very happy that he has done that.
Luckily for Arsenal, Wenger was able to deal swiftly with Alexis and brought in what has been one of the biggest coups of the summer.
After failing to bring in Suarez last season and seeing what he did for Liverpool you could not help but be a little sour. In Alexis however we have a true professional who will not be chomping anyone or racially abusing opponents.
Have to take your hat off to Wenger for securing the deal. Alexis has been a huge player and will continue to develop under the tutorship of the Frenchman.