Belfast Telegraph

Wenger hails fast-settling Sanchez

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes Alexis Sanchez is one of the "fastest adaptors" to the Barclays Premier League he has ever seen.

Sanchez has enjoyed a scintillating start to his Gunners career, scoring 18 goals in all competitions since joining for around £35million from Barcelona in the summer.

The Chilean has started all but two of Arsenal's league games this season, and Wenger reckons Sanchez's excellent start to life in England is due to his attitude and versatility.

"He is one of the faster adaptors to the Premier League I've seen," Wenger said.

"I believe it's because he feels well accepted by the other players. He feels he is an important player in the squad.

"Sanchez is a player who can play through the middle but in a different way to (Olivier) Giroud because of his mobility.

"He has two major assets - the quality of his game and the quality of his receptions. He gets into areas where you can find him.

"When he gets the ball deep he can run at people but he can play further forward as well because of the timing of his runs."

Former Arsenal striker Thierry Henry, who scored 175 goals for the club, claimed this week Sanchez had been the Gunners' "best signing in the last six years".

Wenger did not disagree with Henry, but believes Laurent Koscielny, who joined from Lorient in July 2010, is also worthy of consideration.

"It is difficult to compare Laurent Koscielny with Sanchez," Wenger said.

"Maybe Sanchez is one of our better signings, but then do you consider the price you pay as well?

"We paid good money for him. Is he value for money? Of course."

Wenger confirmed the club are close to completing a deal for Legia Warsaw's defensive midfielder Krystian Bielik, who underwent a medical with the Gunners on Friday.

The 17-year-old has only made six appearances for Legia this season but Wenger insists the promising youngster will go straight into Arsenal's first-team squad.

"He's a defensive midfielder, he is 6ft 2ins, he has a good energy level and a good technical level," Wenger said.

"Is £2million a lot of money? It is less than that but yes, it is a lot of money for a player if he doesn't succeed. If he does succeed, it's cheap.

"Of course, it's a gamble. But on what we saw, it's a gamble worth taking."

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