Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger last night hailed Alexis Sanchez as "a fantastic footballer" after Chile star agreed to join the Gunners from Barcelona on a long-term contract for a fee in the region of £35 million.
The 25-year-old completed his medical in London yesterday, and will join up with his new team-mates at the end of July after spending some time on holiday after the World Cup.
Arsenal beat off competition from Liverpool and Juventus for Sanchez and his signing represents something of a personal coup for Wenger, who is understood to have spoken to the player face to face while working for French television at the World Cup in Brazil, convincing him north London was the right place to further his career.
“As many people have seen during the World Cup this summer, Alexis is a fantastic footballer and we are delighted that he is joining us at Arsenal,” Wenger said.
“Alexis will add power, creativity and much quality to our squad and we are all looking forward to him joining up with us in a few weeks.
“He has consistently produced top-quality performances at the highest level for a number of seasons now and we are all excited to see him integrate into the Arsenal squad.”
Sanchez scored 39 goals over three seasons with Barca, having joined the Catalan side from Udinese.
He has netted 24 goals in 71 appearances for Chile and helped his country reach the last 16 of this summer’s World Cup, where they were knocked out on penalties by hosts Brazil.
“I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal —a club which has a great manager, a fantastic squad of players, huge support around the world and a great stadium in London,” Sanchez said.
“I’m looking forward to meeting my new team-mates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League. I will give my best to Arsenal and want to make all the supporters happy.”
Barca later confirmed the deal on their official website, and wished the player well.
The Gunners are also expected to bring in France defender Mathieu Debuchy from Newcastle, as Wenger looks to build on last season’s FA Cup final success.
Reports have also linked Arsenal with Real Madrid’s Germany midfielder Sami Khedira, although any possible move could well hinge on the personal terms.
In other transfer news Atletico Madrid have announced the signing of striker Mario Mandzukic from Bayern Munich.
The Croatia international passed a medical yesterday before signing a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee believed to be in the region of €22m.
Elsewhere, Samir Nasri has signed a new five-year contract with Manchester City.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved