Belfast Telegraph

Wenger: Sanchez can cause chaos

Alexis Sanchez can take his game to another level with Arsenal this season, according to manager Arsene Wenger.

The tenacious forward has thrown himself straight back into action after taking his summer holiday following his role in Chile winning the Copa America.

Sanchez saw his header deflected in for an own goal in Arsenal's hard-fought 2-1 win at Crystal Palace last weekend, and he is expected to be unleashed against Liverpool on Monday night.

Wenger is in no doubt there is plenty more still to come from the 26-year-old former Barcelona man, who was signed after the 2014 World Cup in a £32million deal.

"Alexis has that desire to go forward and provoke chaos in the defences because he has a go at you, to run at people and that creates danger," said the Arsenal boss.

"He is already better than when he arrived.

"In his final finishing there is room for improvement, but in his final ball he is already much better, his vision is quite good and incisive."

Wenger added: "What Sanchez has is in the first two yards is that he is lightning quick. He has that explosive attitude linked with his spirit, which makes him even more spectacular."

Sanchez had been on Liverpool's radar before he signed with the Gunners.

"At the start when I saw (Luis) Suarez went to Barcelona I though that is the obvious deal, one player one way and the other player goes the other way, so I had not much hope and I was quite surprised that at the time it was possible," Wenger said.

Wenger believes the acquisition of Sanchez shows Arsenal are now capable of bringing in players from any club in the world.

"Before, when we were building the (new) stadium, the big clubs came to buy the players from us," Wenger said.

"Now we are in a position where we can keep our big players, but sometimes there are so many big players in the other big, big clubs who are good but do not play, so after a year or two you can get a good deal.

"Sanchez is a case. Pedro (at Chelsea) is another case, Arjen Robben (at Bayern Munich) is another, he was at Real Madrid."

Quizzed as to whether the same applied this summer to reported Arsenal target Karim Benzema at Real Madrid, Wenger retorted: "Benzema is not a case."

Arsenal have added goalkeeper Petr Cech from Chelsea, but otherwise are yet to strengthen the outfield squad.

With their Premier League rivals all spending big - including Liverpool paying more than £30m to land Christian Benteke, whom Wenger says Arsenal were not interested in because of his similarities to Olivier Giroud - the Gunners could be seen as lagging behind.

Wenger said: "Of course, there is pressure to keep up with them. All of them have spent more money, but only one can win the title.

"It is not just the consequence of the money they spend in how successful you are. That is why you have to keep your nerve and not buy just because the others buy - but buy because you have found a player that can really give you a plus."

The Gunners boss added: "I believe this squad is ready to fight for the title and has a chance to do it given that we are continuing to develop as a team, that is the first thing.

"Internally we have the resources to do that (sign a big-money player).

"We are not against taking a gamble, but what you want is to take a gamble in a market where the opportunity is there."


From Belfast Telegraph