Sanchez Is A Game-Changer For Arsenal...

Arsenal's acquisition of Alexis Sanchez will significantly strengthen the squad in a number of ways, writes Adam Bate. Here we examine why Sanchez will prove a key signing...

Last Updated: 11/07/14 at 09:10 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

Post comment

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

United Can't Rely On Force Of Personality Alone

10 comments

With only two weeks to go until the start of the season, Man United still have plenty of work to do in the transfer market. It seems the enormity of the task is dawning on Van Gaal...

All Articles

After an impressive World Cup, Alexis Sanchez's reputation could scarcely be higher and yet the Chile forward is on the move. With Arsenal securing a deal to take him from Barcelona to the Premier League, we take a look at what Sanchez will bring to Arsene Wenger's side...

Goals
Goals seem the obvious place to start after a season in which only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Diego Costa found the net as many times in La Liga. Despite being sold by Barca, Sanchez boasts an impressive scoring record and leaves Spain having needed just five more goals to claim a one-in-two record from his 88 Primera Liga appearances. Capable of composed finishes and well-struck shots, Sanchez also has a reputation as an architect of mayhem in the opposition area with a knack for making something happen from a nothing situation. That will be needed given that Arsenal's goal tally of 68 lagged some way behind the century-hitting top two last year.


Assists
While Ronaldo and Costa scored more goals, Sanchez provided more assists and this highlights the fact that he brings more to a team than just the killing stroke. Indeed, he was one of only nine players to reach double figures for assists in La Liga last season. Sanchez's assist count doubled from his debut campaign and saw a year-on-year improvement through all three seasons in Spain as his understanding with team-mates grew. He certainly won over Tata Martino. "Alexis is an exceptional player who is able to create and win games," said Barca's coach for the 2013/14 season.


Speed
The absence of Theo Walcott through injury robbed Arsenal of pace and movement in attack during the decisive period of the title run-in and it proved a problem. Olivier Giroud is not at his most comfortable running in behind defences and a lack of midfield runners from deep exacerbated the issue when Aaron Ramsey was missing. Sanchez is a threat in behind as Per Mertesacker can attest after facing him at international level. "You cannot catch him," the German defender told Arsenal's website in March. "It's unbelievable how quick and how good with his feet he is. If you get one against one with him, it's nearly impossible."


Versatility
Despite his limitations, Giroud has proven his worth to the Arsenal team and Wenger has expressed reluctance to seek an out-and-out replacement. In January, the Gunners boss told reporters: "Last summer I looked for a striker that could play with Giroud and without Giroud. In my mind it was not absolutely to replace Giroud, it was to play with or without him." That man might have been Luis Suarez but Sanchez can fulfil a similar remit having been used as a centre forward for Barca as well as a wide man or No.10, the roles in which he earned his reputation at Udinese.


Attitude
The signing of a big-name player for a huge fee can have an impact on the dressing room dynamics but Wenger surely has little to fear with Sanchez. The Chilean is notoriously shy off the field with an impressive work ethic on it. Former Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola spoke of how Sanchez 'stole his heart' after one particularly gutsy display against Real Madrid in 2012, adding: "He sacrificed himself a lot. He is a very humble person." Humble was also the word also used to describe Sanchez by the late Tito Vilanova after the player surprisingly gave himself a 5/10 rating for his contribution. Antics leading to unrest at Colney would seem unlikely.


Potential
At the age of 25, there is a strong argument to be made that despite his fine reputation we've yet to see the best of Sanchez. "In Barcelona, with the teammates he has, he's not valued," claimed Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli. "He is one of the best in the world." Barca's style might have been an issue as Sanchez, an instinctive player who thrives on space, was frequently faced with packed defences. It is telling that his impact increased when Barcelona took a more direct approach and while Arsenal are a passing side, life in the Premier League should suit his talents better. In fact, after three years at Camp Nou, it could be the perfect place to fuse the skill set he's acquired.


Conclusion
There was understandable frustration in north London after allowing Cesc Fabregas to move to Chelsea but those concerns will fade with the signing of Sanchez. The Chilean can give Arsenal something different and beating Liverpool to the transfer as part of a chain that sees Suarez leave Anfield significantly shifts the balance against one of the three teams that finished above the Gunners last term. Following on from the acquisition of Mesut Ozil last summer, it is also further confirmation that the days of the statement signing have returned at Arsenal.

Adam Bate - follow him on Twitter.

A version of this article appeared on Sky Sports.

I am jealous but i do wonder why he's never done anything for barca and why they seemingly don't give two hoots that he's leaving. they clearly rate suarez more than him, that much is inarguable
- bobsy

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
Saints' Schneiderlin stalemate

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Diego Costa gets two assists Chelsea's 3-1 win over Vitesse Arnhem

Diego Costa grabbed two assists as Chelsea beat Vitesse Arnhem 3-1 on Wednesday

Women's football: Natasha Dowie says Fara Williams can earn 200 caps

Fara Williams has enough ability to earn 200 caps for England, according to Liverpool Ladies team-mate Natasha Dowie

Women's football: Dunia Susi and Rachel Brown-Finnis out of England's game with Sweden

England Women’s boss Mark Sampson has been hit by two withdrawals from his squad ahead of Sunday's game against Sweden

Mail Box

Divock Origi Is Like Connor Sammon (Sort Of)

One Mailboxer inserts his tongue into cheek to offer his thoughts on Liverpool's newest signing. Plus thoughts on league-owned clubs, badges, and swearing...

Mails Come From A Land Down Under

We have an example of league-owned clubs from Australia while Kiwi boys want more respect for refs. Plus, Van Gaal won't stick with 3-5-2 and worried if Koeman will cut it...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property