It’s well documented that Arsene Wenger doesn’t like to splash the cash in terms of player recruitment – Fast-tracking young talent or buying promising youngsters from abroad has always been the so called ‘Wenger Way’.
In some respect it has paid off for some players. The likes of Emmanuel Petit, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas spring to mind immediately. The worry for most associated with Arsenal is not the fact that they haven’t won a Premier League title since 2004, but have failed to even come close to challenging for the top spot of the English top flight.
In order to conquer this, the North Londoners spent a staggering £42.5m on German playmaker Mesut Ozil. The former Werder Bremen and Real Madrid midfielder has failed to justify his price tag at The Emirates Stadium, and there has even been reports linking the out of sorts player with a move away after just over one season with the club.
Wenger’s quest to improve on last season’s FA Cup win resulted in turning his attention to Chilean superstar Alexis Sanchez. The £35m signing from Spanish giants Barcelona has been in impressive form for the Gunners, and unlike Ozil, has made serious impact up front, combining well with fellow new recruit Danny Welbeck.
Totalling 15 appearances in the red and white of Arsenal, Sanchez, who can operate as a winger and attacking midfielder as well as a striker, has managed eight goals in domestic and European competitions. Compared to Ozil’s six goals in 31 games for the 2014 FA Cup winners, it just shows how much more effective Sanchez has been since arriving in England this summer.
Under the stewardship of Tata Martino for Barcelona in the 2013/2014 campaign, Sanchez struggled to hold down a regular starting spot for the Catalan club. In 27 appearances, including seven off the bench, the Chilean still managed to convert a very respectable 19 goals and also made 10 assists in the process.
In the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, most people were surprised and mesmerised at how well Chile played. High pressure, fantastic work rate and attractive football were the main reasons why the neutral fans got behind the South American side.
Sanchez was at the forefront of that, and the best element about his game is he makes things happen on the pitch. This was evident in Arsenal 2-0 victory against lowly Sunderland at the Stadium of Light last weekend. Bagging himself a brace, as well as the man of the match award, Sanchez epitomizes what an Arsenal footballer should be.
Foreign strikers often struggle to adept to the particular demands of the Premier League – with Tottenham Hotspur’s Roberto Soldado being a prime example. However, Sanchez has taken the England’s top flight like a duck to water. If Arsenal are to mount a serious title challenge, then keeping Sanchez in tip top condition is absolutely essential. For £35m, this looks like money well spent by Wenger.