It appears increasingly likely that Alexis Sanchez will be leaving Barcelona in this summer’s transfer window. Having spent three relatively successful years at the Catalan giants the impending arrival of Luis Suarez from Liverpool has seemingly left him surplus to requirements.
His arrival from Udinese in 2011 had been billed as somewhat of a coup at the time. His performances in Italy and for his national team, Chile, had alerted many of the major sides in Europe to his potential. An exceptionally quick player blessed with a sound technique was someone Barcelona thought would be immensely successful at the club.
However, the first couple of seasons were incredibly tough for him as Barcelona’s dominance begun to diminish. As well as settling into a side that were not performing as they had done in recent years he had to adjust to a new style of play. It knocked his confidence and unfortunately he spent most of the first season on the fringes of the team after struggling with a series of niggling injuries.
With the arrival of Tito Vilanova as head coach after the departure of Pep Guardiola it seemed that Sanchez would finally get a decent run of opportunities. However, it was only towards the end of that year that he really begun to make his mark and he scored some important goals towards the end of the season that saw Barcelona crowned as Champions.
It seemed that Sanchez was suffering from the same affliction that many other forward players have struggled with in recent seasons; the presence of Lionel Messi. A similar situation had befallen David Villa who despite doing well in his first season at the club never got much of an opportunity to play in his favoured role as striker. With almost their entire game based around the mercurial talent that is Messi the other forwards often felt marginalised and not as loved as the Argentine.
Rumours of Barcelona’s interest in Suarez really began to pick up speed just before the World Cup began a little under a month ago. Since then it has rumbled on but at the time of writing this it seems that the deal will be finalised in the coming days. With that in mind it almost guarantees Sanchez’s departure. At 25, he remains young enough to establish himself at another big club that will allow him to reach his potential.
He is an immensely committed player who always seems to perform at his optimum for the club when required. However, with much of the talk surrounding a move to Arsenal or Juventus it will be fascinating to see how the next stage of his career develops. He is clearly a character that needs to feel appreciated and despite playing second fiddle to Messi he remained reliable and dependable throughout his time at Barcelona.
If, as expected, he makes the move to Arsenal it will give the North London club some much needed quality in the final third of the pitch. His movement and link up play will certainly catch the eye and he will soon become one of the leading players in the league.
Written by Andy Hunter
Follow Andy on Twitter @hunter67980
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