FC Barcelona Transfer News: What the Signing of Alexis Sanchez Means to the Club

Manuel TraqueteSenior Analyst IJuly 21, 2011

LECCE, ITALY - APRIL 03:  Alexis Sanchez of Udinese during the Serie A match between US Lecce and Udinese Calcio at Stadio Via del Mare on April 3, 2011 in Lecce, Italy.  (Photo by Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images)
Maurizio Lagana/Getty Images

FC Barcelona have finally made their first summer signing, recruiting former Udinese player Alexis Sanchez for €26 million.

The Catalan Giants have been dominating European football in the past few seasons, having won the second Champions League in the past three seasons under Pep Guardiola in 2010/2011. Still, the Barcelona manager remains determined on further improving his squad in order to continue this period of dominance. Guardiola had said a few days ago that the priority was to sign a forward, which makes Alexis Sanchez a logical addition to the squad.

Last season, Barcelona's MVP (Messi, Villa, Pedro) attacking trio had to play pretty much every match, and Villa and Pedro were visibly tired towards the end of the season. While Sanchez will certainly not displace any member of the attacking trio, his arrival will allow for more and better rotation, thus keeping everyone fresh and accounting for possible injuries.

In theory, Sanchez can play in any of the three attacking positions, which makes him an even more valuable asset to the club. His pace and extraordinary wing play also offers a plan B; Pedro and Villa aren't exactly wingers, nor are they particularly great dribblers. As Xavi said a few days ago, Sanchez can easily beat opponents one-on-one, which will make him very useful against the parked buses Barcelona will inevitably have to face.

Other than Messi, Villa, Pedro and Sanchez, Barcelona still have Iniesta and Afellay, who can easily fill in if necessary. The rotation possibilities are endless and should ensure that everyone will be fresh in the business end of the season.

Much depends, of course, on how well Sanchez settles in, but theoretically he shouldn't have many problems. He has the talent and the work ethic needed to be an FC Barcelona success story and become one of the world's best player at Catalunya.

After securing Alexis Sanchez's signing, Barcelona will now presumably turn their attentions to Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas, another wish of Pep Guardiola. Regardless of how that saga goes this summer, it seems clear that Barcelona will once again be favorites to win it all next season.

The Catalans were already the world's best side without Sanchez, and they'd be favorites even if they signed nobody. Signing a player of Sanchez's quality only makes the side even stronger and more likely to win trophies next season, at least on paper.

With the constant emergence of new homegrown talents and the integration of some of the finest outside talent, Barcelona's golden era doesn't seem to be nearing an end.


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