Arsenal defender Nacho Monreal has talked up the influence of team-mate Alexis Sanchez at the Emirates Stadium, insisting he has a similar impact on his side to that of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star LeBron James.
Monreal was discussing Sanchez after his mesmeric display in the 2-0 win over rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday. The Chile international netted the second goal and pulled Spurs apart with some of his attacking play.
"I think Alexis Sanchez is the LeBron James of the Premier League," Monreal said, per Owen Fulda of the Daily Star. "He is one of the best players in the league and I have the opportunity to train with him every single morning. I know how competitive he is, a trait that he shares with King James himself."
That determination pulsed through Sanchez against Spurs, as he led the attacking charge time after time over the course of the 90 minutes. As noted by ESPN FC's Janusz Michallik, the performance was one with the collective in mind:
Janusz Michallik @JanuszMichallik
As unselfish as I've seen from Alexis. Part of the team and not an island.2017-11-18 13:18:08
Still, it doesn't appear as though Sanchez will remain in north London for much longer, with his contract at Arsenal set to expire at the end of the season.
Should an extension remain unsigned, clubs can approach the Chilean from January with a view to agreeing a pre-contract and a free transfer in the summer. Manchester City have long been linked with a possible move for the forward, per BBC Sport's David Ornstein.
For now, Arsenal supporters should enjoy the 28-year-old while he's around and hope he can fire them to some success in 2017-18.
However, with no Premier League titles won during his time at the Emirates, journalist Paul Brown suggested comparisons with James may be wide of the mark:
Paul Brown @pbsportswriter
If Nacho Monreal is right that "Alexis Sanchez is the LeBron James of the Premier League", shouldn't he have won the title with #afc by now?2017-11-20 18:49:06
James, 32, has won the NBA championship on three occasions. In each of those triumphs, he was named the Finals MVP, while overall he's been named competition MVP on four occasions.
As noted by Monreal, James has a knack for pulling his team to victories almost singlehandedly at times too. In the last three seasons, he's inspired the Cavaliers to three consecutive Finals appearances.
While Sanchez has enjoyed FA Cup success on two occasions with the Gunners, the biggest prizes in English and European football have escaped him during his Arsenal stint. Bleacher Report UK joked his display on Saturday was with a view to helping his potential next club to win the Premier League:
B/R Football @brfootball
When someone tells Alexis Tottenham are Man City’s closest rivals for the title https://t.co/iSYOhvlhNG2017-11-18 13:40:02
Monreal went on to speak about his love of the NBA and said he will be in attendance in January when the Philadelphia 76ers host the in-form Boston Celtics at the O2 Arena in London.
"It's a special moment as we don't have the chance to see NBA games live every single day," he said, per the report. "I went last year and it was amazing, the arena, the crowd, the game."
Meanwhile, Arsenal supporters will be clinging to some hope they can keep Sanchez around beyond January, when City will surely come calling again.
If he were able to inspire the team to some silverware at the end of the campaign, it would at least soften the blow of what appears to now be an inevitable departure.