Arsenal, Liverpool


By Mark Finlay

Chilean international Alexis Sanchez travels to Anfield tomorrow for the first time since his £35 million move to Arsenal from Barcelona in the summer.

And while the Reds have been struggling both domestically and on the international stage failing to get out of the Champions League Group stage, Arsenal is through to the last 16 for the 15th consecutive time.

Speaking to the Daily Star Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said: “We have continuity. All players want to play in the Champions League.

“It’s quite simple, and we have good continuity on that front.

“Every great player has a choice to go where he wants and we are glad he has chosen us.”

Liverpool actually offered more money than Arsenal for Sanchez, but after having held talks with his agent during the World Cup in Brazil the 26-year-old opted for London over Merseyside.

Since his arrival at the Emirates Sanchez has been on fire hitting the back of the net 14 times to become the clubs leading scorer.

Wenger said: “Sanchez looks like he is made for the English game.

“He has settled very quickly. But Sanchez has a kind of game that is instinctive and tough.”

Asked whether he ever feared Liverpool would steal Sanchez from under his nose last summer, Wenger said: “Yes. But there were some other clubs that were in for him as well.

“Transfers at that level take always time to get every detail right, so because it takes time, you think always that somebody else can come in – PSG, Bayern Munich.

“We met his agent in Brazil a few times and talked about the transfer.

“In Europe we did it with Barcelona. Once we got the decision he would like to join us we were happy.

“He had maybe not had number of games he wanted at Barcelona and I tried to convince him I could help him develop the quality of his game, that the way we play would suit him.”

It now seems a long time ago when Arsenal put in their famous bid of £40 million and £1 for Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, with Sanchez now making everyone see it as ancient history.

And while Liverpool’s fortunes have not gone well since selling Suarez to Barcelona, the Arsenal boss could not be happier.

“Yes (I am happy) because the history of every big club is made up of many big players that you missed.

“It goes on and sometimes you get another one. I wanted Thierry Henry and Nicolas Anelka to play together.

“Maybe if Anelka had stayed Henry would not have become the player he became.

“Sometimes it’s coincidence that decides your destiny.”