Another week, another player to look at as one of Arsenal’s best transfers. Since I started this series I’ve gone looked at Dennis Bergkamp, Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Mesut Ozil and Robert Pires. For this week’s player, it looks like I can’t wait any longer to put him in as he might be off soon. He’s been at the club for just over three years, played 139 games, scored 73 goals and has assisted 37, so it’s no surprise that he’s attracting interest from Europe’s elite… and Manchester City. His name is Alexis Sanchez and he is on his first holiday since arriving at the club it seems.
Cast your mind back to the World Cup of 2014, Chile didn’t quite set the tournament alight but did make a name for themselves beating Spain in the groups. During the tournament, their star man Alexis Sanchez was becoming increasingly linked with a move to Arsenal or Liverpool as Luis Suarez made his move to Spain. After his nation were knocked out on penalties by Brazil all the speculation was put to bed as we signed him for what was believed to be £35m, he became the second marquee signing in as many years following the arrival of Ozil the year before.
After helping Arsenal to a 3-0 Community Shield win over City, Sanchez’s next two appearances would show Gooners what they could expect to see for the next three seasons as he assisted against Crystal Palace and scored against Besiktas. The Chilean really announced himself at The Emirates early on in the season as he scored a great volley which flew past Joe Hart in the City goal. The 2014-15 season would see him light up the league and it all came together in the F.A. Cup final against Aston Villa. After assisting Theo Walcott’s opener he also got himself on the scoresheet, scoring a long range effort that swirled around making it impossible for Shay Given to save in the Villa goal as Alexis confirmed his 25th goal and 13th assist of the season.
After a summer that saw him win the Copa America with Chile, Sanchez returned to Arsenal ready for a new season despite not really getting a break. Coincidently the 2015-16 season would see his numbers drop a tad to a still respectable total of 17 goals and 10 assists. His first stamp on the season came in the 3-0 thrashing of Manchester United at The Emirates. After his smart back heel finish to open the scoring he fired a shot into the top corner to make it 3-0 with just 20 minutes on the clock. This season would also see Sanchez notch up his first North London Derby goal in front of the Arsenal fans at White Hart Lane, score his first Arsenal hat-trick away at Leicester as well as scoring in four consecutive matches against Watford, West Ham, Crystal Palace and West Brom.
Another international summer saw Sanchez lift another Copa America title as they defeated Messi’s Argentina in the final. Now for the season just gone, and again, now donning the number 7 following the departure of Tomas Rosicky, Sanchez put down an early marker of what to expect with that chip in the 3-0 win over Chelsea as he went on to have his best season for the club. From that hat-trick against West Ham to providing clutch goals in F.A. Cup semi-finals and finals, it was pretty clear over the course of the 2016-17 season who was the fan favourite as he won the Arsenal Player of the Year having scored 30 goals and assisting 15.
Now on holiday after reaching the Confederations Cup final with Chile, Sanchez looks to be biding his time to make a decision on his future. Annoyingly for Arsenal fans, this has dragged out for God knows how long and with Wenger seeming confident he’d be staying hopefully that means a new contract too rather than letting him go on a free transfer next summer. But first and foremost, let’s hope for more of the same from him if he stays for this season.