Comparing The Two Super Star Wingers Arsenal Have Been Linked With: Why Signing This Chilean Is A Statement Of Intent?

Despite the plethora of attacking talent at Arsenal’s disposal, one thing that they have lacked over the past few years, has been world class wingers. Theo Walcott is certainly one, but he has been either injured or coming back from injury for much of the last 18 months and that has left Arsene Wenger with a slight problem. And on the occasions that he has been fit, he has wanted to play through the middle, an area that isn’t his strong suit, but one that he can excel at thanks to his finishing ability.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was brought in to be a winger, much like Walcott, but Wenger sees him more as a central midfielder who can get up and down the pitch. That Leaves Arsenal with just Lukas Podolski, another player who prefers playing more centrally. So it is no surprise to see Arsenal being linked with a couple of world class wingers who have so far set the World Cup alight.

Colombia have arguably been the most entertaining South American side to watch in Brazil. Although James Rodriguez is the main man attack, another player who has caught the eye has been Fiorentina’s Juan Cuadrado. The 26-year-old right winger came into the World Cup on the back of a stellar season with the Italian club has just continued from where he left off. Cuadrado has been an integral part of the impressive Colombian attack that faces Uruguay in the Round of 16 on Saturday.

Another South American winger who has shone in Brazil is Chile’s Alexis Sanchez. The 25-year-old who currently plays for Barcelona has been Chile’s standout player in Brazil and has impressed one and all with his pace, trickery and ability to penetrate into the opposing defence. With new Barcelona manager Luis Enrique planning a massive summer clear out, Sanchez is one of those rumoured to be on the way out.

Apart from being really good at what they do, one thing both these players have in common is that they have been linked with Arsenal in the past few days. Some reports are even claiming that Sanchez’s agent had a secret conversation with the Gunners. With Arsenal lacking width and two world class players on their minds, who should they sign? Should Wenger go for the younger but more experienced Sanchez or for a more traditional winger in Cuadrado? Let us take a look at some numbers and then pass judgement on who fits them better.

Offensive contribution of both Cuadrado and Alexis in their respective Leagues last season

  Juan Cuadrado Alexis Sanchez
Total appearances 32 34
Goals/assists 11/5 19/10
Chances created 60 47
Shot accuracy 42 59
Dribbles per game 3.7 1.1

As far as their offensive productivity goes, it is a close run thing. While Alexis is clearly is a more potent finisher, when it comes to creating chances, Cuadrado is a lot more effective. Even though Alexis has double the assists of Cuadrado, the quality of players alongside him, might just have something to do with that. That is evident from the fact that Cuadrado also created a lot more chances than the Chilean.

Another aspect that is clearly visible from the stats is their style of play. Cuadrado is more of a dribbler, who beats his man with sheer pace and trickery, while Alexis makes optimum use of the support alongside him. While Cuadrado was arguably Fiorentina’s main attacking threat, Alexis was more of a side show with the likes of Neymar and Messi alongside him.

For the national side Alexis enjoys much more of the ball, something that certainly will happen, if he makes the switch to the Emirates. Although Cuadrado creates more opportunity for his team mates, Alexis’s ability to not just create, but score as well, make him the firm winner in this category.

While both players are sound technical players and great going forward, Sanchez’s time at Barcelona and his finishing prowess make him more suited to the Gunners. Another thing that Cuadrado has going against him is his relative inexperience at the highest level. As good as he has been for Fiorentina and Colombia, he hasn’t had the exposure that Sanchez has had and is also likely to be more expensive, which might just put off Arsene Wenger.

While both players are undeniably gifted, the younger and cheaper Alexis Sanchez would be Arsenal’s best bet this summer. Having played for Barcelona, he is also more suited to Arsenal’s style of play. Regarded as a sideshow at Barcelona, the Chilean will no doubt flourish under the spotlight at the Emirates. Signing him would also be a big statement of intent from Wenger, who will be looking to win the League this year, after ending the nine-year trophy drought with the FA Cup victory last time around.

Watch his performance against Spain,


Stats via whoscored

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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