Arsene Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez has been able to settle at Arsenal so quickly because he truly wanted to join the club.
Sanchez has been the most influential player for the Gunners this season, scoring 18 goals across all competitions and assisting a further nine. Along with Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas, the Chile international is considered one of the best purchases of the summer transfer window.
The physicality of the Premier League usually limits new arrivals in their first few months of action - just ask Radamel Falcao - but Sanchez seamless transitioned from La Liga. Wenger thinks he knows why.
"Alexis had a few options and he chose us because he felt that’s where he wanted to go"
“Alexis has played in Italy, in Spain and he moved clubs - that of course helps,” the manager told the Arsenal Magazine. “The second part is that the move is a reward for what he really wanted.
“Alexis had a few options and he chose us because he felt that’s where he wanted to go. Sometimes a player moves somewhere and it’s not the choice that he deeply wanted. In his case, I think he really wanted to join us.
The forward has played in a variety of roles for Arsenal already this season. Wenger has put him up front as a lone striker, behind the striker and on the wide left. The Frenchman believes that versatility has also helped him to flourish.
"On the pitch, the player has his needs. I felt that he came into a team that plays in an [attacking] way, where he can express his talent with freedom. It works out well for him. That helps.
“After, another step is that a team welcomes you with the values that you rate, and that in some parts of the team, you can feel at home when you need it sometimes.
“That means there are people inside the squad with a similar culture. For example we have plenty of Spanish-speaking people and I believe that helps to integrate people well.”
Wenger has warned that Sanchez could burn himself out before the business end of the season but seems content to play him regardless. Having recovered from a slight knee injury against Leicester City, the FA Cup tie against Middlesbrough seemed a good time to rest him. However, he played 72 minutes before being substituted.
With Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain injured and Serge Gnabry fighting his way back from a serious knee injury, Sanchez may well get the rest he needs soon, but for now he must be approaching the red zone.
Arsenal are fighting for fourth place as well as challenging for the FA Cup and Champions League. Sanchez needed the be rested in the game against Middlesbrough. It could come back to bite Wenger in the near future.
Do you think Arsene Wenger is too reliant on Alexis Sanchez or have Arsenal got more than enough to cope with life without him? Give us your views in the comment box below!