Friday, 11 July 2014

Fabregas forgotten as PUMA unveil in Sanchez-tional style!


Wow. I cannot begin to fathom the magnitude of events that have occurred in the past 24 hours. It's too much to comprehend.

We've sealed a record-breaking deal with one of the most popular and likeable brands around. We've seen as many positive reviews to the new kits as we have to the kit number shuffle. Oh, and we've broke the bank again for potentially the next Thierry. The Sanchez transfer saga has ended, and for once it has ended in our favour.

Alexis Sanchez is a Gunner.


What an out-of-the-world marquee signing. What an astonishing statement of intent. While the Ozil deal reeked of a panic purchase, Alexis was one of the best thought-of moves I've ever seen Arsenal FC execute successfully. Never would I have imagined Wenger's capability to plan and snare his blockbuster target to be true, yet here we are. Arsene has officially pushed the boat out.

The Sanchez purchase is significantly different from that of Mesut's. You'd be wrong in thinking that Ozil was part of a long-term plan when hurriedly bought, but Wenger has now rightly sought to build the team around him. Sanchez goes a long way to doing that.

Make no mistake, we've bought the real deal. For some time I've been clamouring for Balotelli to be shipped in, yet I couldn't be more pleased by Wenger's choice. Sanchez is speedy, strong and has a devastating eye for goal. He's the perfect blend of Walcott and Podolski. He's a superb choice for a lone striker. He's a mile ahead of Mario.

It remains to be seen where Arsene chooses to deploy him. The starting berths of Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud should undoubtedly come under threat, owing to Alexis' versatility. My gut feeling is that Cazorla will be sacrificed to occupy Sanchez on the left, while Giroud would be fending off competition from Sanogo and Joel Campbell with relative ease.

I don't follow the La Liga as much as I follow the Premier League, so I wouldn't be the best person to judge where Alexis would be most prolific. However, his physique, pace attributes and goals (via YouTube :P) suggest that playing him instead of Giroud could be one of those risks that pays off massively.

In one fell swoop, our attack has become one of the best in Britain. Luis Suarez's departure from Liverpool also suggests that Arsenal are in pole position to reclaim the mantle of England's entertainers. It would take something truly remarkable to oust the excitement of knowing that the title contenders-cum-football artists of Arsenal FC are showing definite signs of resurfacing.

I firmly believe that our attack is on par with the Invincibles. Ozil could be compared to Bergkamp, Walcott is just as fast as Pires, and Sanchez could certainly be the next Henry over time. With a defence maned up by Steve Bould and one of the best (if not the weediest) midfield in the country, I can say with no hesitation that we're closer than ever to breaking our Premier League drought.

I have reason to believe that Arsenal are buying more quality; Mikel Arteta and Ivan Gazidis have already said so. Plug some holes, buy a decent defensive midfielder, get a quick decent striker (a bonus, really) and suddenly, you're the boss. Imagine a team like this powered with Debuchy, Remy, Schneiderlin, a backup goalkeeper and a fringe CB. City will tremble on the eve of the Community Shield.

We're buzzing enough to have a real crack at the Charity Shield. And even though calling it a legitimate trophy is somewhat extreme, there's no doubt that winning it will provide a huge fillip going into 2014/15.

The hard part is over. Signing Alexis has not only confirmed Arsenal as a title contender, but it has also banished the ghosts of Fabregas and van Persie for good. It's heartening and exciting to see the club learning from their mistakes and not see Sanchez become the next Higuain.

And for that, I owe Arsene Wenger my congratulations and an apology. My strong suspicions that the boss was planning to procrastinate until the last week of the window were completely unfounded. The timing of the transfer pleased me just as much as the quality of the player. Arsene has shown that he is willing to be proactive and combine it with uncharacteristic ruthlessness, for which he deserves kudos.

Ozil was deemed to be the start of something new, but there were numerous mitigating circumstances surrounding the deal. In contrast, Sanchez was dealt with efficiently, professionally and quite early. Maybe PUMA can learn from them!

The PUMA kits simply added to the feelgood factor around the club. I find plenty complaining on the design of the goalkeeper kit, but I couldn't really care less. It's a bit rich of us to criticize a decent enough kit that got us 30 million quid, hours after we bought potentially the next Henry!

But yeah, Giroud looks bonkers beautiful in it.

Times look good at the club. Aside from having a marquee signing done early in the window, we've affiliated with a superb kit for much-needed money. The backroom is facing a shape up, and Wenger is changing his character for the better. In fact, it's been a long time since I've struggled to find negatives about the club. I'm not even about to give it a try!

-Santi [Follow me on Twitter @ArsenalBlogz]