5 Reasons Why Barcelona Must Keep Alexis Sanchez
On the evidence presented, the Catalans would be utterly stupid to even consider dispensing with his services.
Although he is given more freedom to express himself in the Chilean national side, the level at which he plays is generally the same as at club level.
As rumours of a move elsewhere gather pace—including talk of a move to Arsenal, per Mundo Deportivo (via Tom Conn of Inside Spanish Football)—let's look at five reasons why Barcelona must make sure Sanchez is still wearing Blaugrana colours next season.
100 Percent Effort and Commitment During Every Game
Alexis Sanchez is among a dying breed.
No matter the occasion, he can absolutely be relied upon to give every last ounce of effort.
To "put sweat on the shirt," if you prefer.
Supporters pay hard-earned wages to watch their idols. The least they expect is to see the players committed and up for the challenge.
Whether a starter or a substitute, can you honestly think of a game where Alexis didn't earn his salary?
Pace, Power and Persistence
Three words that sum up Alexis Sanchez's all-round game.
Pace, power and persistence. Despite his squat frame, Sanchez is extremely quick from a standing start and isn't often beaten in a foot race.
With a powerful muscular physique, his tremendous upper-body strength affords him time to make the right decisions when shielding the ball against equally robust defenders.
As we saw time and again throughout last season and the World Cup, when he doesn't have the ball, Sanchez is like a dog without a bone. He will not give up until he has it in his possession.
When holding the ball in tight situations, his twists and turns bamboozle even the best opponents.
Alexis can play all three attacking positions with aplomb—a priceless commodity in today's game.
Barca generally have him shuttling up and down the right channels, but as new manager Luis Enrique must surely have noted, the free role he is employed in whilst with Chile makes him a lot harder to pick up and consequently more dangerous.
Whilst at Udinese, he was their main centre-forward, and it was his performances in that position that brought him to the attention of the Catalans.
It's a testament to his skill set and professionalism that even though he has barely featured in his natural position whilst at Camp Nou, there have rarely been instances whereby anyone could criticise his application.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man.
When the Blaugrana go to war, Sanchez is first out of the trenches.
It's all you can ask of your staff—that when the big games come around, the games that truly define a season, your players stand up to be counted and don't go missing.
You could never level that accusation at Alexis, who positively thrives on the big-game atmosphere.
Goals and Assists
During the 2013/14 season, Alexis was the only player in the top five European leagues to both score more than 20 goals and assist more than 20 for club and country, per Yahoo Sports.
That's quite something when you consider his contemporaries.
His goalscoring resume is extensive. Free-kicks, tap-ins, long-range exocets—Sanchez scores them all.
He is a danger no matter where he is on the pitch, which shows just how important he is to this Barcelona side.