ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger hailed the “power, creativity and quality” of Chile forward Alexis Sanchez after he flexed the club’s renewed financial muscle to clinch a £30m transfer from Barcelona.
Sanchez, 25, signed a four-year contract worth around £100,000 per week after the Gunners fended off interest from rival suitors Liverpool and Italian champions Juventus.
His arrival marked Arsenal’s second marquee signing in 12 months, in addition to last summer’s record £42m purchase of Mesut Ozil from Real Madrid, and had Wenger purring.
“Alexis is a fantastic footballer and we are delighted that he is joining us,” said the Frenchman.
“Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality. 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.”
Sanchez, who helped Chile beat Spain and reach the World Cup last 16, can play on either wing or through the middle. He said: “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.”
Barcelona had hoped to trade him with Liverpool in part-exchange for Luis Suarez, but the player turned down a move to the Reds.
Newcastle and France right-back Mathieu Debuchy is expected to follow Sanchez to Emirates Stadium in an £8m deal, while Atletico Madrid youngster Javier Manquillo could arrive on loan as his understudy.
Wenger’s next major target is thought to be a central midfielder, with Germany and Real Madrid’s Sami Khedira believed to be on his radar. Southampton’s Morgan Schneiderlin is an alternative but looks more likely to join Tottenham.
Suarez, meanwhile, saw an appeal against his global four-month ban for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup rejected yesterday.
The Uruguay striker’s £75m switch to Spain is not likely to be affected.