Arsene Wenger is hopeful Alexis Sanchez will be able to flourish after moving out of Lionel Messi’s esteemed shadow at Barcelona, just as Neymar does when the Brazilian plays for club rather than for country.
The new Neymar?
Sanchez has been the marquee signing of this summer transfer window for Arsenal, joining the club for a fee of £32 million following his most effective season at Barcelona, during which he registered 19 goals in La Liga.
The Chilean enjoyed a position of more prominent following injury to Messi, and made the most of it. However, the decision was taken to sell Sanchez following the World Cup with Luis Suarez in their sights, and Arsenal were the team to conclude the deal.
Sanchez proved during Messi’s absence just how dangerous he can be, something he also demonstrated with Chile, and Wenger is optimistic this will continue following the 25-year-old’s arrival at the Emirates Stadium.
“Sanchez was really outstanding at Udinese but when he went to Barcelona it became a bit more difficult for him,” the Arsenal manager explained.
“It’s like you can see with Neymar at Barcelona, because there you have Messi and everyone has to fit in around him.
“You see Neymar with Brazil and he is a different player to Neymar with Barcelona. And it is the same with Sanchez.
“Alexis is a striker and a good winger who made a great impression on me when he was in Italy.
“I like the fact that he can play left, right and up front. That’s why I went for him.
“At the moment I want to see him in all the positions. I took him because he is a player who has the qualities of Theo Walcott who goes behind defenders off the ball. And with the quality of his runs he can be very important for us.”
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Arsenal supporters will get the opportunity to see Sanchez play in club colours for the first time this weekend, with the forward having trained with his new teammates in the lead-up to the Emirates Cup.
Wenger has confirmed that Sanchez will play some part over the next two days, with Arsenal facing Benfica and Monaco.