Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes the dominance of Lionel Messi at Barcelona is proving detrimental to Luis Suarez, who moved to the Camp Nou in a club record transfer during the summer window.
Suarez has scored only once in seven appearances for Barcelona since making his debut at the end of October in El Clasico, a period of time in which Messi has comparatively found the net on eight occasions.
The Uruguayan has started, in the main, on the right side of a central Messi and has found goalscoring opportunities at more of a premium than he did at Liverpool, and Wenger claims this was inevitable given the status of the club’s leading marksman.
“The game naturally goes through the strong point so in Barcelona the game goes through Messi. It means the other players become a bit more peripheral,” Wenger said, as reported by The Guardian.
“You could see now when you watch Barcelona, Suárez was a super dominant figure at Liverpool and sometimes you think: ‘Where is he?’ I’m certain he will find his place but it’s not easy for the players there.”
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Wenger did, of course, try to sign Suarez from Liverpool himself and, on this occasion, was using his example to highlight just why Alexis Sanchez has been able to flourish so quickly as an Arsenal player.
Sanchez has become a focal point at Arsenal following his summer move, a luxury not afforded to him at Barcelona, establishing himself as the most important and reliable goalscorer among Arsenal’s number.
The Chile international has scored 13 times in his 19 appearances for Arsenal so far and, once again, proved the match winner for the north London club during the narrow midweek victory over Southampton.