Alexis Sanchez has been hugely important for Arsenal this season proving that he is worth every bit of his £35m fee.
The forward fell out of favour with Spanish giants Barcelona who felt that he was too unsure in front of goal after scoring only eight times in La Liga during his second season at the Camp Nou but the Chilean has reinvented himself in North London.
With only a handful of games left this campaign, the Gunners should finish once again in the top four providing important Champions League football for their roster of stars next season. But that is a given now. Arsenal always finish fourth or higher but they have not managed to reach the Premier League’s pinnacle since their unbeaten invincible’s season of 2003-04.
Arsenal have been missing that certain something and they may just have found it in Sanchez.
A lot of foreign players struggle in their first year of English football. The league is very demanding and unlike other countries we do not indulge in a winter break where if anything it is the busiest fixture period.
Sanchez hasn’t been as explosive as say Chelsea’s Diego Costa but he has been more consistent. Likewise the Chilean won’t be winning the league’s highest goal scorer award with his current 13 league goals but his ability to adapt so quickly to our domestic game looks good for next season.
Sanchez and strike partner Olivier Giroud make a good team and are sure to further solidify their partnership next season. With both in fine form Arsenal can truly challenge for the title even when facing stiff competition from teams like Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United who are likely to all be contenders once again.
Sanchez was an inspired signing by manager Arsene Wenger and supporters are fortunate that the 26 year old ended up with them rather than rivals Liverpool where he could have been successfully leading their attack this season instead. Brendan Rodgers was hoping he would be an ideal replacement for the loss of Luis Suarez but Arsenal hijacked their deal and have benefited enormously. Liverpool really could have used a player with the Chilean’s attacking qualities this season and if they end up missing out on the top four then they really will rue their mishandling of last summer’s window.
Sanchez’s 19 goals in all competitions has helped Arsenal to currently sit third in the league, be in the running to retain the FA Cup and they almost progressed through to the Champions League quarter finals when they beat Monaco 2-0 on the night but lost overall on away goals. Definitely not a bad season for the Gunners and next year looks set to be even more productive.
Arsenal still need to strengthen their squad just like every other club and their focus should be on signing a holding midfielder such as Morgan Schneiderlin or James McCarthy, both of whom Wenger is reported to be interested in, rather than looking at any forwards.
Upfront Arsenal are blessed with a whole host of attacking players to chose from. Sanchez, Giroud, Theo Walcott and new boy Danny Welbeck are all fighting to lead the line so Arsenal can focus their money this summer elsewhere safe in the knowledge that they have several stars now who next May might help them finally lift that cup again.