As teams begin to get knocked out of the World Cup, the thoughts of various players will drift from a full focus on international football, dejection at elimination and eventually, looking towards next season. If you’ve had a stinker of a World Cup, things might not be all too different, but if you’ve had a good one, a stellar summer transfer could well be on the cards.
Alexis Sanchez is a player whose future has been hotly discussed throughout the World Cup and since Chile were knocked out of the tournament by hosts Brazil, the focus on where the forward will be playing his football next season has naturally intensified.
Arsenal are one of the clubs reportedly interested in signing the Barcelona man, and they will have been encouraged in their pursuit of the player by comments made by La Blaugrana’s sporting director Adoni Zubizarreta, who insists that Sanchez’s future remains unclear, per Sam Marsden of The Mirror:
Regarding the future of Alexis Sanchez, there have been offers for the player.
But I do not know how it will all end - we are looking for a solution which will be best for everyone.
The quotes from Zubizarreta come after reports in Spanish newspaper Sport (h/t Vaishali Bhardwaj of Metro) that the Chilean would prefer a move to Arsenal over Liverpool; the Merseyside outfit are also supposedly interested in the player.
So with Sanchez reportedly a little keener on the red of Arsenal than the red of Liverpool, the Arsenal hierarchy quite simply must act swiftly to secure the signing of the thrilling Barcelona forward. Here's a few reasons why:
Sanchez showcased in abundance what his game is all about during Chile’s run to the last 16 of the World Cup. BBC pundit Phil Neville was extremely impressed with Sanchez in La Roja's game against Brazil:
His scintillating dribbling, intelligence with the ball at his feet and cool head in front of goal make him a gripping player to watch, and if Arsenal were to get him on board, he’d add so much to Arsene Wenger’s first XI.
Without the blistering speed of Theo Walcott or the direct surges from Aaron Ramsey—both were injured for large portions of the second half of the season—the Gunners did look a little one-dimensional at times during the last campaign. They need another player who can complement the intricate qualities of Mesut Ozil and Santi Cazorla with a much more direct approach.
Sanchez would fit the bill in every sense. He is a very versatile player, capable of operating anywhere across the frontline or just behind a striker, but wherever he plays, the Chilean provides a major threat in behind. Not only is he supremely quick, but he is also capable of dropping off the back four, finding space and running at the opposition with a tenacity that is almost incomparable in European football.
Given all the aforementioned qualities, Arsenal writer Gunnerblog would love to see Sanchez plying his trade at the Emirates next season:
He’s a perfect fit for Arsenal and that’s why with Chile out of the World Cup and Barcelona clearly not keen on providing the player with any reassurances over his future, the Gunners must act now and get him signed up.
Liverpool also represent an attractive option for Sanchez, and with Barcelona supposedly ready to offer up to £80 million for the Reds’ mercurial forward Luis Suarez, per James Pearce of the Liverpool Echo, it would be natural for the Anfield outfit to want to include Sanchez as part of any potential transfer.
Plus, if Liverpool were to cash in on their troubled striker, they’d have considerably more financial clout than the Gunners in the transfer market, and Sanchez's attention could soon be attracted should the Anfield outfit offer a much more appealing wage package.
From an Arsenal point of view, hopefully lessons have been learned from last summer. Wenger was reluctant to splash the cash throughout the course of the window and the Gunners eventually paid the price for being short in a host of areas towards the end of last season. They finished strongly and secured the FA Cup, but the Arsenal faithful will surely have their eyes on bigger prizes in 2014/15.
Sanchez can be the catalyst for the Gunners challenging for the major honours, and getting him on board early can only be a positive for Arsenal’s preparations for the upcoming campaign. The Chilean’s capture would be a major statement of intent too, and could pave the way for a host of big names making their way to the Emirates ahead of next season.