Belfast Telegraph

Wenger: Sanchez, Suarez are alike

Arsene Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez is like Luis Suarez and "made for the English game".

Wenger takes his Arsenal side to Liverpool on Sunday with Sanchez in his team, rather than among the opposition.

The Frenchman's pursuit of the Chile forward began at the end of May and he snared his target, signing him from Barcelona, despite Liverpool being linked with Sanchez as a replacement for the Nou Camp-bound Suarez.

"Sanchez, he looks like he is made for the English game," said Wenger, who attempted to sign Suarez from Liverpool in 2013.

"Sanchez has settled very quickly. But Sanchez has a kind of game that is instinctive and tough.

"They (Sanchez and Suarez) have similarities. They are South Americans, they are provoking players, they go with the ball.

"They are very determined as well, both of them. They have plenty of similar attitudes."

Wenger believes Arsenal's consistency in the Champions League was a factor in Sanchez choosing the Emirates Stadium over Anfield, but the Chilean had other options, too.

"I thought Liverpool was a serious candidate because they had Suarez going there (to Barcelona), so you could think that's an easy way to do the deal but at the end of the day, the player has always the decision," Wenger said.

"There were some other clubs that were in for him as well. The fact that today the transfers at that level take always time to get every detail right, so because it takes time, you think always that somebody else can come in. Paris St Germain ... I don't know, Bayern (Munich) ... to do the deal as well."

Wenger is happy that fate dealt him the hand that saw Sanchez, and not Suarez, join the Gunners.

"Sometimes it's coincidence that decides your destiny," he said.

"Maybe if (Nicolas) Anelka had stayed (Thierry) Henry would not have become the player he became. Anelka would have played centrally and Thierry wide."

Wenger denied Arsenal had pursued Mario Balotelli during the summer and declined to comment on why the Italian has struggled at Liverpool.

"He's been in England before," Wenger said.

"He is a very sensitive subject, because it's an interesting subject.

"I don't know him at all."

Liverpool have struggled this term, but Wenger is not discounting them from challenging for the top four.

"They can still come back and I don't rule them out to fight for the top places," he said.

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