Football

Alexis Sanchez could be the best signing of the summer

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The summer transfer window was a fruitful one for the elite clubs of the Premier League. Between them, Arsenal Chelsea and Manchester United spent an incredible £345 million, accounting for over 40 per cent of the total spend of all 20 clubs.

The biggest additions for each club consisted of Diego Costa (£32m to Chelsea), Angel di Maria (£59.7m to Manchester United) and Alexis Sanchez (£35m to Arsenal) and all have started life in the English game with a bang.

However, out of the three stars, all born in South America, one has the potential to make a bigger impact than the other two combined. That potential is held within the diminutive Chilean star Sanchez.

This is not an opinion based on Premier League stats. Looking at those will only show that Costa has more goals (nine compared to Sanchez's seven) and Di Maria has more assists (four compared to Sanchez's two).

Instead, this is purely based on the impact that each player could have on their respective teams. When you look at it from this angle, you can see how Sanchez can be considered the best big purchase of the summer.

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Unique contribution

If you consider Sanchez to be a goalscorer alone, he is likely to come second to Costa every time. The Spain international has looked imperious up front for Chelsea and no one would bet against him winning the golden boot.

A fit Costa will end the season with 30 goals and a Premier League winner's medal around his neck. Sanchez is unlikely to match that as he continues to work from a wide position for Arsenal. But Costa is a very one dimensional player and it is not outrageous to suggest that there are a dozen strikers who could fill the same role.

While he will score a hatful of goals, he will only do so as long as the service remains. As a result, Costa could struggle if the playmaking services of Cesc Fabregas are cut off. That is a weakness that QPR took advantage of and nearly got just desserts for their efforts. Costa's service was cut off and the player did not look close to scoring.

What Sanchez provides to Arsenal is very much the opposite. So far he has demonstrated a desire to grab the ball and service himself if no one else can do it for him. 

Dropping deep, running at defenders, closing them down and shooting on sight; this is what Sachez offers. It's a dogged determination that allows him to outjump defenders half a foot taller than him to win a header in the box, scoring a goal that never would have been had he not been busting a gut to get in the right position.

Inspiration

While Costa is just one part of a well oiled machine, built by the master craftsman Jose Mourinho, Sanchez is an outlier amongst his Arsenal team-mates, cut in the shape of a free-scoring Liverpool striker called Luis Suarez.

In that sense, he can be a source of constant inspiration for the Gunners, dragging them well above a level that they would never have dreamed of without him. He will salvage points that they would have otherwise lost.

Luxury

Sanchez was very much a luxury for Arsene Wenger, who already had an embarrassment of riches to choose from on the flanks. But Sanchez was something completely different to what they had and, at £35 million was a relative bargain.

When you consider that Di Maria cost Manchester United £59.7 million to sign from Real Madrid, you realise what good business signing Sanchez was. Di Maria could also be constituted as a luxury for Manchester United, even more so than Sanchez.

Di Maria is a much more refined version of an attacking winger and prides himself on creating goals rather than scoring them. In that sense he is similar to Wayne Rooney or, in other words, something they already have.

He doesn't contain that added spice that allows Sanchez to pick up his team-mates and drag them along with him. He needs a quality striker in front of him to thrive. Luckily Manchester United have two in the form of Robin van Persie and Radamel Falcao.

Thrive

It is quite clear to see that all three players are going to thrive in the Premier League. They are all world-class and they will all help their teams to achieve great things in the future. But Sanchez will make a bigger impact to Arsenal than Costa or Di Maria will to theirs.

He is an inspirational figure, an outlier, not someone who fits to mold of a team player. Costa and Di Maria a key cogs in a machine - Sanchez is the machine.

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Topics:
Manchester United
Alexis Sanchez
Chelsea
Diego Costa
Arsenal
Football

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