What if Arsenal had Signed Alexis Sanchez in 2011?


The list of players that Arsenal almost had is excruciatingly long and painful. Arsene Wenger has revealed through various press conferences and statements that he had Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and a host of other world class talents on his to-do list before they were snatched away from him.

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Lionel Messi was one that was literally a hair away from joining the Gunners, only to have his move disrupted by the fact that Arsenal could not provide Messi’s family anywhere to live. Oh what could have been.

Of course, inevitably we would have sold those players because the Emirates is a pricey establishment, so lets stop moaning over ourselves and moan over another potential move that could have/should have happened but did not, until it did in 2014. You follow?

Alexis Sanchez was on the up-and-up in 2011 after having risen to prominence at Italian side Udinese. However, it was widely know that he would be moving on. Named the world’s most promising youngster (via Goal.com), Alexis Sanchez had the world ahead of him and the pick of the crop for who he wanted to play for.

Naturally, he chose Barcelona, who filched him for 25 million pounds.

But lets rewind and consider if Arsenal could have nabbed him them rather than three years later.

Then a youthful 22-years old, Alexis Sanchez was just that – a promising youngster. Usually Arsene Wenger has a warm and fuzzy for that kind of thing, but 25 million pounds was probably a bit high on the price range for Le Prof to stomach in the midst of paying off the Emirates.

Instead, Arsene Wenger grabbed Gervinho (ha!) for 10 million and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for 12 million. On the other side, he sold Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and a handful of others to amass 75 million pounds earned compared to just over 50 million pounds spent.

I know what you are thinking, because I am thinking it too. Toss out Gervinho’s 10 million and add in Alexis’ 25 million and we still make 10 million on the year towards the Emirates debt. But alas, it was not to be.

Arsene Wenger is allowed to mess up from time to time and Gervinho was one of those mishaps. He was a fraction of Alexis’s cost and two years older, making him seem like a more sure-fire bet for less money. Sounds like an Arsene Wenger dream to me.

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However, even before going to Barcelona, Alexis Sanchez made it clear how much he respected English football. It seemed inevitable that he would move here one day, if not that very day, but he chose Barcelona, a decision that he does not necessarily regret, but a decision that probably should not have plagued him for three years.

“It cost me a lot to adapt to playing the Barcelona way.” Alexis said via ESPNFC in December of 2014. “Arsenal play beautiful football, but Barcelona play in a way that no other team in the world does. English football is more direct, more end to end, but I like that. It suits the way I want to play.”

All around, it seems like a missed opportunity. Three more years to grow in the Arsenal way? He could have reached heights that not even he thought possible. However, we have the Chilean mastermind now and that is what matters. He will have at least another handful of years to become an Arsenal legend. Plus. who knows, if he had grabbed Alexis then, maybe we never would have signed the Ox.

Next: Arturo Vidal still an option?

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