PLAY IT SHORT: Alexis is Henry Mk II; So much momentum for Arsenal; Man Utd lose another whizkid?; Toon had to go to Sunderland for Geordie
ALEXIS IS HENRY MK II FOR ARSENAL
It will be fascinating to see where Arsene Wenger ultimately decides to field Alexis Sanchez. There's a lot of Thierry Henry's move from Juventus in the deal for the Chilean. At Juve, Henry was pushed out wide and viewed essentially as a winger. It wasn't until he arrived at Arsenal and came under Wenger's guidance that his striker instincts were allowed to develop and succeed. Could we see the same with Alexis? It's ridiculous for the naysayers to claim he was 'inconsistent' at Barcelona. In the era of Lionel Messi, has there been any attacking player who has been allowed to outshine the Argentine? Everything is built around him, so whether it's Henry, David Villa or Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they've all been forced to take a backseat. Alexis was no different. But with Arsenal, under Wenger, we're sure to see this wonderful talent fulfil his potential. Just as it took Yaya Toure to get away from the Barca system before showing the world how good he was at Manchester City Alexis has had to do the same.
SO MUCH EARLY MOMENTUM FOR GOONERS
After Alexis Sanchez, the word is Sami Khedira is now on the brink of leaving Real Madrid for Arsenal. Two massive signings, plus the exuberance running through the veins of the club's World Cup winners, it's a struggle to see how Arsenal cannot but avoid their traditional slow season start. And if they do get off to a flyer, on this wave of optimism, can Arsene Wenger's team be stopped?
MORE CHILEANS TO FOLLOW ALEXIS
Busy week for Chile's super agent Fernando Felicevich. Last week, he oversaw Alexis Sanchez's move from Barcelona to Arsenal and also former Real Sociedad goalkeeper Claudio Bravo's switch to the Nou Camp. But he still has plenty of business on in the UK. He needs to find a new club for Cardiff City midfielder Gary Medel, hold talks with Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal about Angelo Henriquez's situation and there's also Mauricio Isla's future to consider. Felicevich has been gradually expanding his empire into England and the next client due to arrive is Juventus wing-back Isla. Newcastle United, Liverpool and the Gunners have all been mentioned, but United have also asked both Felicevich and Juve about Isla's situation. Sir Alex Ferguson had been aware of Isla since he was snapped up by Udinese as an 18 year-old from Universidad Católica and Van Gaal will arrive at Carrington on Wednesday with a detailed dossier on the Chilean in his desk drawer.
MAN UTD TO LOSE ANOTHER TOP KID?
There's confidence at Manchester United that they will secure Will Keane to a new contract. But with no deal signed since last week's news, there remains the risk of United letting slip yet another young talent through their hands. A bigger spotlight should be shone on United's management of their young players. Paul Scholes hinted at the tension when highlighting Jesse Lingard's treatment in contrast to Adnan Januzaj. Paul Pogba, Ravel Morrison and Mats Daehli have all proved top-flight players since leaving United. Jack Barmby was shown the door at the end of last season and was immediately snapped up by Leicester City. Now Keane's contract is in the balance. United fans, consider the £28 million now in Athletic Bilbao's coffers for Ander Herrera, when for the coming season there so easily could've been a midfield five of Lingard, Morrison, Pogba, Daehli and Januzaj.
CLAYTON DESERVES SUNDERLAND CHANCE
Great to see Gus Poyet give Max Clayton a chance at Sunderland. Off contract at Crewe Alexandra, it's no surprise the striker has been handed a Premier League opportunity. Clayton was no first-choice at Crewe under Steve Davis, but at 19 he's still growing and his ability is not in question. Only a couple of years ago, Clayton was playing with Liverpool ace Raheem Sterling for England U17s. Also in that squad was former Crewe teammates Nick Powell, now of Manchester United, Dan Trickett-Smith, now with Liverpool, and Ben Garrett. Not bad for an academy deemed below A-class standard by the game's authorities...
KOEMAN MUST CHOOSE WISELY NEW SAINTS SKIPPER
Ronald Koeman must choose well when deciding upon Southampton's next club captain. The Dutchman, at his unveiling last week, suggested he could name Adam Lallana's successor as early as this week. You hope Les Reed, the club's football director, will have made clear to Koeman that being captain of a Premier League club carries a lot more responsibility compared with the same role on the continent. The problem is there's no obvious candidate, with the squad undergoing so much change. Koeman pulled aside Jose Fonte and Steven Davis upon arriving at St Mary's to pass onto the rest of the squad his early thoughts. And after four years with the club, through the lows and now the highs, Fonte would be a good choice.
WHERE ARE THE GEORDIES AT TOON?
The ink on the contract is hardly dry, yet Siem de Jong is now Newcastle United's vice-captain. If there's one team that should boast a local core, it must be Newcastle United. But for his leadership group, Alan Pardew has an Argentine as club captain (Fabricio Coloccini) and an Ivorian (Cheick Tiote) and newly-signed Dutchman as his lieutenants. The lack of Geordie candidates for leadership roles must ring alarm bells at St James' Park. Shola Ameobi is gone and Steven Taylor's status remains shaky. Like De Jong, Remy Cabella's is a positive signing. But when you see the impact Rickie Lambert's arrival has made at Liverpool, it's sad to see a Newcastle team without one first-choice player boasting a passport to the Geordie nation. Even worse, the club - in Jack Colback - has had to go to Sunderland to find one!