London factor helped pull off signing of the summer.
Although it was initially laughed off as sour grapes and bad excuses by Brendan Rodgers when he suggested that Alexis Sanchez chose Arsenal over Liverpool this summer because he wanted to live in London, the suggestion has come up again when speaking about rumoured Manchester City interest in the player before he made his move to the Emirates Stadium.
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Arsenal transfer news
Sure, it can’t have been the only reason Sanchez chose his new club after quitting Barcelona, but it would be naive to think these things don’t play a part. The likes of Tottenham and West Ham have managed, to a lesser degree, to attract some fairly big names as well despite never being in the Champions League or challenging for major honours. Players have personal lives too, and London is increasingly becoming one of the most attractive places in the world to live.
Sanchez’s move to Arsenal raised a few eyebrows at the time; why on earth did such a talented player not end up somewhere else? Based on last season, Liverpool may have been a more attractive move from a footballing point of view, while teaming up with fellow Chilean Manuel Pellegrini at champions Man City would also have made a lot of sense. Even Manchester United, without their Champions League football, had a lot of money to throw around and could have done well to bring in Sanchez rather than either Radamel Falcao or Angel Di Maria, neither of whom have been as good so far or anywhere near as good value for money.
Of course, it’s not just up to the player himself. Perhaps clubs just weren’t interested, and it’s easy to say with hindsight that so-and-so should have signed so-and-so because of how well they’re playing now. It’s easy to forget that Sanchez joined Arsenal on the back of his first really good season at Barca, having stuttered in his first two campaigns since joining from Udinese.
And while by Arsenal fans’ standards the 26-year-old represented a big-name signing, it is easy to see how those who are more used to splashing out £30m for just about anybody these days might have missed him. Playing second fiddle to the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar at the Nou Camp means it can be hard to be noticed or truly appreciated, but there’s no doubt he is relishing his role as the star and focal point of Arsene Wenger’s team.
Still, it’s hard not to see this as an extremely lucky move for the Gunners, who have long been known for their struggles in the transfer market. It won’t be often that a player of this quality goes unnoticed by bigger spenders, and Arsenal will really have to hope they maintain their status as a top four club this season or that London factor will suddenly have slightly less of a pull.