It is hard to think of a player having a quicker or more impressive impact after joining Arsenal than the effect we have seen from the Chile international star Alexis Sanchez this season. And after the fans have become used to players like Ozil, Podolski, Mertesacker and Koscielny taking time to settle into the Premier League, it has seemed all the more impressive.
Even though the former Barcelona player had an extended spell at the World Cup finals in Brazil, Arsene Wenger put him straight into action in the Community Shield win over Man City. Alexis then provided an assist for Koscielny in our EPL opener and was on the scoresheet himself just over a week later as he scored the goal that put us into the Champions League group stage.
The 26-year old striker has never looked back and his delighted manager has this week lifted the lid on why Alexis has done so well so quickly for the Gunners. In an interview reported by ESPN the Frenchman explained that the striker is playing so well because he at the right club. And not just because the style of football Arsenal play is ideally suited to the abilities of the Chilean, although that is part of it. The main reason according to Wenger is that Alexis really wanted to be a Gunner and so arrived in a great frame of mind.
Wenger said, “Alexis Sanchez had a few options and he chose us because he felt that’s where he wanted to go.
“Sometimes a player moves somewhere and it’s not the choice that he deeply wanted. In his case, I think he really wanted to join us.
“You have to consider the history of a player, and if it is the first move for a player from his country and his family, it can be a sensitive subject.
“If a player has already moved to different countries in his career, it helps. We speak about Alexis Sanchez and he has already played in Italy and Spain.
“Another factor [in helping him settle] is he came into a team that plays in an [attacking] way, where he can express his talent with freedom. It works out well for him and that helps.
“After, another step is that a team welcomes you with the values that you rate and that in some parts of the team, you can feel at home when you need it sometimes. That means there are people inside the squad with a similar culture. For example, we have plenty of Spanish-speaking people and I believe that helps to integrate people well.
“Off the pitch, of course that is sometimes less predictable. You need to find the right housing, to feel comfortable in your daily life, your family need to like it, and your children need to find the right school. You can never predict it will work, but we have someone who looks after the players and he does a marvellous job.
“When all these things fit well, then you have a chance to have a happy player.”
If this is what we can expect when Alexis is happy, I hope that Wenger and the staff at Arsenal do everything they can to keep him smiling. A winners medal of some sort might help…