Gunners expected to battle Liverpool for signature of impressive Chilean…
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Premier League giants Arsenal are competing with their rivals Liverpool for Barcelona’s Chilean attacker Alexis Sanchez…
Barcelona were keen on using Sanchez as part of the deal to sign Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, but it now appears that Arsene Wenger’s side have hijacked the move – with respected Spanish journalist Guillem Balague going as far to say Arsenal have already agreed personal terms with the South American.
I heard Arsenal have a personal agreement with Alexis but offer less to FCB than Liverpool. Juve also interested.
— Guillem Balague (@GuillemBalague) July 2, 2014
If Arsenal do complete an impressive deal for Sanchez, here’s what he could bring to the Emirates table in 2014/15…
Sanchez’s strengths and weaknesses…
Sanchez prides himself on his superb technical ability with the ball at his feet. Not only can he retain possession in tight areas, but he can go past defenders from a standing start, thanks to his agility and nimbleness. His pace is also a big asset, but unlike more traditional wingers, Sanchez can drop deeper or into more central areas and link up with his teammates thanks to his clever array of passing.
On the surface, Sanchez has no stand out weaknesses. His height means he isn’t usually a threat in the air, but with Arsenal’s intricate style of passing football – this is unlikely to be a problem. What’s perhaps affected his chances at Barcelona is his versatility. He can play on the left of a front three, on the right of one – or through the middle himself, meaning he’s been unable to lock down a guaranteed spot in Barcelona’s XI since his big money move from Udinese in 2011.
However, this probably has more to do with world-class players around him such as Lionel Messi, Pedro and Neymar competing for spots – and his performances with Chile at this World Cup show that he perhaps thrives when given added responsibility.
How Sanchez could fit in the XI next term, and how he’d complement the current bunch…
Firstly, Arsenal are expecting to sign a new right-back following the departure of Bacary Sagna to Manchester City on a free transfer.
A new holding midfielder could also be snapped up to replace Mikel Arteta (with Sami Khedira mentioned heavily), but apart from that, here’s how the Gunners could line up if Sanchez were to arrive:
The Chilean could form part of a devestating attacking midfield trio alongside the currently injured Theo Walcott, and last summer’s marquee £42.5m signing Mesut Ozil.
Due to the injury of Walcott last season, Wenger often deployed Santi Cazorla, Tomas Rosicky and Lukas Podolski in the wide positions, and while all are technically gifted, neither have the pace and direction of Walcott.
With Sanchez and Walcott potentially used as interchangeable and dynamic wide-men though, Mesut Ozil’s ability as the playmaker is maximised.
The German loves to play intricate through-balls to onrushing teammates, but his ability to do this last term was diminished due to too many static playmakers around him.
Sanchez then would make Arsenal a far more dangerous side on the counter-attack because of his pace. He would also offer a genuine goal threat from wide (as the stats you’re about to read will prove) and enable Arsenal’s superb passers (Ozil, Cazorla, Ramsey, Wilsere etc) a direct running option in behind the opposition defence.
Sanchez’s statistics… (Courtesy of WhoScored)
In the top five European leagues last season, only 15 players (including Messi, Suarez and Rooney) reached double figures for both goals and assists, and Sanchez was one of them. While being predominantly deployed on the right wing, he scored 19 in La Liga, and registered 10 assists. He actually only attempted 1.1 dribbles per match, but made 1.4 key passes which led to chances for teammate every game as well.
How Arsenal fans have reacted to the potential deal on Twitter…
— gregory soeryoputro (@g_bangaa) July 3, 2014
Arsenal football next season ll be a joy to watch if we can seal A.Sanchez’s deal.
— King Dara (@Daradipe) July 3, 2014
— K Rodriguez (@PrinceKp87) July 3, 2014
I’ll actually be over the moon if Arsenal sign Sanchez, quality player
— Cameron Haggie (@cameron_haggie) July 3, 2014
Suarez might be joining Barca and Sanchez is most likely to go to Arsenal… LOL to liverpool
— Ashvin :3 (@Ashvin_98) July 3, 2014
If Arsenal get Sanchez then