Alexis Sánchez has joined Arsenal for a fee believed to be £30 million. He was believed to have favoured the move to Arsène Wenger's side over Liverpool and is believed to have agreed a basic wage of £130,000 a week. Whether Liverpool even had a chance to sign the player is moot now, as a quality player has joined a rival club. The deal with Barcelona for Luis Suárez will proceed as planned and it will be solely a cash deal for circa £75 million.
The appeal of Alexis was his flexibility as much as his talent. Daniel Sturridge is a worthy number one striker, but he's also prone to picking up minor injuries, and Liverpool will need a player who can replace him without much of a drop off. However, any player good enough to do that won't be happy to sit on the bench, forcing Rodgers to go with the 4-4-2 diamond when both are fit as he did much of last season with Suarez and Sturridge.
Brendan Rodgers will have to look elsewhere for his flexible forward and Arsenal have made a big entrance into this summer's transfer window with the signing of an undoubtedly talented player. There are over 7 weeks for Liverpool to find an adequate replacement for Suárez and it may be a combination of Daniel Sturridge being the main man in attack, Lazar Marković adapting as quickly as Philppe Coutinho did, Borini and Lambert contributing, some goals from the likes of Coutinho and Lallana, and finding the right player in the remaining weeks to contribute to the attack.
This isn't great news but there is sufficient time time for Liverpool to pluck someone worthy out of the air. All of Liverpool's signings in the summer would have been made irrespective of whether Suárez stayed or not. The impending Marković signing and the likely Dejan Lovren deal would have presumably been pursued to add to Liverpool's flawed crown jewel. Even the much desired addition of a left back or competition for Simon Mignolet are unrelated to the sale of El Pistolero.
So a goalkeeper, a left back, a central/defensive midfielder, a back up striker, a flexible midfielder, a precocious wide forward, and a starting centre back were all sought to add to what Liverpool already had. What Liverpool had was a ferocious attacking side that had extremely poor depth in various areas for a side that finished second in the league. Rodgers' side did have the two most prolific players in the league and the league's best player.
Alexis Sánchez could have stepped into Luis Suárez's shoes but now we'll never know how he would have fared as his successor. Would he have worn the number seven shirt? Would Rodgers have predominantly played 433 with Alexis on the right and Sturridge in the centre? Mesut Özil was one of the most highly regarded number tens in world football and his arrival last summer was to herald a new era for Arsenal. £42.5 million and what a talent he is yet his first season hasn't quite worked out as hoped. In football, there guarantees are difficult to find.
What Liverpool have is time to attract the right player or players to replace Suárez but it won't just be incoming players filling in. Those who are already here must play their part but Champions League football should be enough of a tangible attraction for those players targeted to join a club resuming Champions League membership after a five-year absence and consolidate progress made in finishing second in one of Europe's strongest leagues.
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