After months of speculation, it has finally happened: Alexis Sanchez is an Arsenal player. Arsenal are reported to have spent £35 million in order to secure the deal.
How the deal was completed
Initially the ball was in Liverpool's court after Luis Suarez's latest misdeed saw him banned for four months, forcing Liverpool's hand to offload the player to Barcelona.
Both Liverpool and Barcelona were on the same page in a swap deal for Suarez and Sanchez, though Sanchez was more intrigued by Arsenal's interest and a move to London.
As Arsenal tabled in an acceptable bid, Barcelona looked to stall time as a swap deal between Suarez and Sanchez would have driven down the price the overall price Catalan club had to pay Liverpool.
However, Liverpool could not get Sanchez to agree terms, forcing Barcelona to get the very most out of Arsenal to fund a move for Suarez.
At the very last second, Juventus stepped up their interest in Sanchez. With Chilean buddies Arturo Vidal and Isla being Juventus players, as well as Sanchez having roots in Serie A (his form for Udinese led to Barcelona signing him in 2011), it seemed they would have the edge in getting the forward's signature.
None of that could be factored in however, as Juventus could not match the transfer bid nor the wage Arsenal were willing to pay - a reported five year contract worth £150,000 a week, rivaling Mesut Ozil was the biggest earner in the club.
What Sanchez will add to Arsenal
Upon signing, Arsene Wenger enthused: “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 Football Club.
“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. I’m sure all Arsenal supporters will join me in welcoming Alexis to our club.”
Sanchez added: “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. 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.”
Who else have Arsenal been linked with?
Sanchez is Arsenal's first signing of the summer window and is set to be followed by Mathieu Debuchy in the following days. Rumours are abound Arsenal are also looking for a centre back and defensive midfielder; West Ham's Winston Reid and Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender lead the top of the wish list.