Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Alexis Sanchez signs for Arsenal: excitement level – max

Here are some nice words to start your Friday: Alexis Sanchez is a Gooner.

Arsenal yesterday confirmed the signing of the Chilean forward from Barcelona who arrives on a four year deal for a fee of around £30m. On the official site, Arsene Wenger said:

Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks. He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the Arsenal squad. I’m sure all Arsenal supporters will join me in welcoming Alexis to our club.

While Sanchez spoke about the move, saying:

I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London. I’m looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League. I will give my best to Arsenal and want to make all the supporters happy.

From a pure footballing point of view, it’s very exciting. Some have suggested that he wasn’t quite a permanent fixture in the Barcelona team and this speaks to a lack of quality, but if this summer has taught us anything it’s that Barcelona are, frankly, nuts, letting players of the calibre of Cesc and now Sanchez go, not to mention the fact that our new boy is just 25 and heading into the best years of his career.

To arrive in London with a footballing education that includes River Plate, Udinese in Serie A and the best team in Europe (before they managed to fall apart in a matter of months), augurs well for us. He’s got a wealth of experience and adds qualities to the team that we’ve been lacking.

He can play up front on his own, as well as wide, and such is his skill-set he can also play off another centre-forward if we need to be more traditional. Pace, power, a work ethic that is second to none, and the man can finish, as this video of his top 10 goals at Barcelona shows you. What we’re getting his a player who has worked his way from South America to the top of the European game, and there isn’t a fan of any club who watched him at the World Cup who wouldn’t have wanted him in their team … and now he’s at Arsenal.

I think what’s most pleasing about this deal is how efficiently we got it done. The smoke bombs about Mario Balotelli provided a welcome distraction as we set about getting the player we were really interested in. The story from a couple of days ago about how a clandestine meeting between the player and Arsene Wenger sealed the deal for us was fantastic, but from the other side of things, there’s been no messing around, no haggling or bartering, and credit to the club for that.

I think the experience of doing the Ozil deal last summer – one which took us miles outside our comfort zone – helped enormously. Not just from an administrative angle, but it was a signing which signalled something of a new era at Arsenal. The kind of signing that makes people sit up and pay attention. The kind of signing that shows other players that Arsenal is a club with ambition and one that’s ready to spend money.

We know we had money in the bank already, and the coffers have been boosted by the new commercial deals with Puma and Emirates, but it’s still refreshing to see that when it came right down to it, we put our money on the table without the fuss, bother and parsimony that has, in the past, caused deals to go south right at the point where we should have completed a signing.

It’s long been said that 2014 would be the time when we could really start to move forward, and there was certainly an element of ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, understandably so. Now though, having spent £70m+ on just two players (when in previous years Arsene could have purchased an entire team for that kind of cash) we’re seeing it happen. We’re a club that is now looking at, and able to operate at, the top end of the transfer market.

It’s an exciting time after that period in which money was not as freely available. I realise that’s still an issue that can be debated to within an inch of its life, but what’s done is done now. At this point the shackles are well and truly off and that’s what we should be enjoying. It’s a brilliant start to our transfer business this summer which isn’t done by a long way.

There are still gaps in the team/squad which need to be filled, but adding a player like Alexis Sanchez to our team – something that would have seemed a pipe dream not too long ago – shows a seriousness about building a team that can bridge that 7 point gap in the Premier League and make us more competitive in Europe and at home.

Alexis Sanchez is an Arsenal player. Phwoar.

The reaction from some of our players tells its own story too. “What a Signing!!!!! Can not wait and looking forward to playing with Alexis Sanchez!!!!!”, said Theo Walcott in his best attempt to out-exclamation mark Jack Wilshere.

“YES!! Top signing!!”, said a slightly more demure Aaron Ramsey, while Mesut Ozil posted, “Welcome to Arsenal, you definitely have chosen the right club!”

I would liken this signing to the sight of the dog in the front seat of a car while the owner is driving along. Regardless of how blue you are, how down in the dumps, it’ll just make you smile.

Welcome Alexis, you dog in the front of a car! I genuinely can’t wait to see him tear it up in the famous red and white. Speaking of which, last night saw the official launch of the Puma kit that everyone has already seen anyway.

An event took place in central London with quite a cool video featuring Arsene Wenger, and as you can see from the pictures, the player issue kit is … shall we say … quite fitted. Mathieu Flamini, Mikel Arteta and Santi Cazorla were the models and having to wear shirts like this will ensure our players stay away from the cakes and pies and chips during the season, because even an extra kilo or two will become obvious.

Thankfully, the shirts available to the public are somewhat more forgiving which is good news, and means the Emirates won’t be filled with moobs, bellies and bullet nips on cold days. I did have an official invite to the event but due to distance/location I couldn’t go and officially gave my invite to erstwhile Arseblog colleague Andrew Allen.

It seems that everyone there got a present of the kit with their name on it, but obviously that didn’t filter all the way down because I can’t imagine he’s going to wear this one around very often:


If only they’d gone with first names!

Finally for today, if you missed it yesterday we announced details of our rather exciting New York book event. We’re going to be there for the Arsenal v Red Bulls game, and on the Friday night beforehand we’ll be in O’Hanlon’s on 14th St with the copies of the new book for sale. There’s a ton of Arsenal stuff going on on 14th on the Friday. You can get all the details of our event right here, and keep an on the Facebook page of Arsenal NYC for all the info about what promises to be a fun night.

Right, that’s that for this morning. I’m off to bask in the warm, warm glow of Sanchez. Till tomorrow.

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