Chile forward Alexis Sanchez is expected to complete a move to Arsenal this week from Barcelona after rejecting offers in Italy. The 25-year-old forward can play anywhere along the front lines as a forward, he scores goals and creates chances but what links him with another Arsenal target Loic Remy?
The France international is also linked with a move to the Emirates for a proposed £8 million deal from QPR. Remy could join the ranks as a replacement and improvement on Nicklas Betnder who leaves the club after ten years on a free transfer.
Arsene Wenger relied far too heavily on Remy’s compatriot Olivier Giroud last term. The striker made a total of 51 appearances and looked a little stretched in the run-in towards the end of the season. Not only does he need competition and perhaps cover, but what the manager lacks in Giroud above all is pace.
Last term this pace deficit in the attacking lines which Arsenal was compounded further by the injury to Theo Walcott for six months in January meaning their top scorer from the previous season sat out half of last term.
Not only did they lose Walcott’s goal threat and his assists for the team but they lost their threat of pace on the break, the ability to play a sly ball over the top, and his ability to create space for players in central areas such as the centre forward and central midfielders.
Arsenal have always been considered synonymous with pace – the likes of Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, Freddie Ljungburg in the days of the Invincibles and previously Nicolas Anelka, Ian Wright and Alan Smith were all relatively speedy forwards and attackers who could win foot races against defenders but without Walcott last term, as well as being without Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for long periods too, they looked somewhat flat-footed.
Giroud is not a fast player and, as such, his style of play is more focused on physicality, intelligent movement and positioning where as players such as Loic Remy and Alexis Sanchez are more dynamic in attack, they are also more technical, they can run at defences and wreak havoc at the back, dragging markers out of position, creating space for their teammates to exploit.
These two potential signings at the Emirates suggest one thing only to me – Arsene Wenger recognises the capacity a player like Walcott has to damage teams with his speed and acceleration and the need for more like him.
He keeps the left-fullback of any team in world in constant check, which also limits the ability of that fullback to get forward for fear he could be caught out of position with no chance of catching the Gunners man.
With Walcott on the right flank and potential Alexis Sanchez on the left or through the middle of that forward trio, never mind the prospect of Loic Remy coming in to join them, the threat of Arsenal on the break would be nothing short of terrifying for defenders.
The space they create, stretching the opposition out of their compact units, will only provide more problems from the likes of Aaron Ramsey, Santi Cazorla and Jack Wilshere who can occupy the space they leave in and around the box and score goals themselves.