Finally, Arsenal fans have what they’ve been wanting for the last few seasons now – a major signing – in the shape of Alexis Sanchez in from Barca for a deal believed to be worth somewhere in the region of £35 million.
The 25-year-old striker has netted 47 goals in 141 games for Barca. He also managed to score twice for Chile in the World Cup in Brazil. And Chile were a tremendous force to be reckoned with in Brazil and justifiably came right in in the World Cup 2014 betting as a result.
Their loss on penalties to the hosts put paid to any hopes of international glory – but the team had already distinguished itself. And Chile were certainly a true team. No other nation really pulled together in the same way as the Chileans and they were unlucky to go out against the hosts – hitting the bar in the closing stages with a thunderous strike from Mauricio Pinilla which would have seen them progress to the quarter-finals. And whilst it would be completely unfair to single out any particular player as being the hub of Chile’s team – it would certainly be Sanchez if you had to pick one man.
This is why Liverpool were keen to sign the Chilean striker in a cash and player deal as Luis Suarez went the other way – as were Juventus. But no – he’s on his way to The Emirates and we can all breathe a huge sigh of relief that we’ve brought in a goal-scorer who’s proven that he has what it takes at the highest level.
Sanchez strikes you as the kind of player who could have an absolute field day for the Gunners – particularly when we’re at our free-flowing best. And with a fit–again Theo Walcott playing at full power, the team looks capable of beating anyone on the day.
Of course, what we’re all hankering after is consistency. If anything has summed up the recent Premier League and Champions League campaigns, it’s a lack of consistency or – perhaps more to the point – the ability to see things through to the bitter end when the going gets really tough. In short – other teams’ squads have demonstrated a little more doggedness and a little less reliance on a few key players.
You can’t imagine Alexis Sanchez is the sort of player not to get going when the going gets tough. Nor can you imagine him to be the sort of player whose game drops down a peg or two during away games to relatively minor clubs trying to stave off relegation in the dead of winter. But these are very much the games where grinding out a 0-1 result wins you the title. And, though we hate to say it, these are the games that Manchester City and Chelsea in particular have proved more adept at winning of late.
All in all, then, Sanchez could be the ideal man for the job at just the right time. Let’s just hope that he stays fit – along with the other key players and that we can mount a sustained Premier League campaign this season with his help.