Arsenal fans will be far from happy with Henry’s Alexis Sanchez claims

Mikel Arteta reviews Arsenal v Brentford

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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has made a bold claim about former Gunner Alexis Sanchez, which may not go down too well in north London. The Chilean fled the Emirates in controversial circumstances but has since resurrected his career in Ligue 1, where he is enjoying a renaissance with Marseille.

Sanchez was one of the finest players in the Premier League during his three-and-a-half-season stint with Arsenal. The electric forward bagged 80 goals in 166 games across all competitions to pique rivals’ interest, forcing the Gunners to go on the defensive.

Eventually, the Chilean managed to force through a move to Manchester United after refusing to sign a new deal under Arsene Wenger. Sanchez was banished to train with the reserves just before his switch went through, with many supporters stung by the player’s clear desire to jump ship.

Others felt aggrieved that Sanchez ditched his role as Arsenal’s talisman to become the highest-paid player in the division at a rival like United, with whom his form tailed off dramatically.

That hasn’t stopped Henry labelling him a role model ‘on and off the pitch’ amid a positive run of form for Marseille. “At Arsenal, he made me dream,” the Frenchman told Prime Video. “He left but I always liked his desire, the way he presses. We all know he’s quality but at Inter I said to myself ‘He’s started to decline.’ But honestly, now at Marseille…

“I went to see him the day after a game. He was on a treadmill to do sprints. He’s a role model, on and off the pitch too. When you see such a player, who’s won it all, behave like this, you feel compelled to follow his example.”

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Sanchez called time on his stint at Old Trafford with just three Premier League goals in 18 months, joining Inter on an initial loan before it was made permanent in 2020. The 34-year-old was steady without being spectacular in Milan, although his days of grabbing games by the scruff of the neck have returned in Ligue 1.

Scoring at a rate of one goal every 164 minutes in the league, the former Red Devil is already up to 13 in all competitions, including both goals in a 2-0 win over Clermont Foot on Saturday. Despite Sanchez’s bitter Arsenal exit in 2018, he appears keen to build bridges with his former fanbase.

As Mikel Arteta’s Gunners chase a first Premier League title in almost 20 years, Sanchez sent his well-wishes before last month’s meeting with another of his former clubs – Man Utd – making it crystal clear which team had his support.

“You remembered me, I will never forget you too,” the Chilean wrote on Instagram. “You will always be in my heart. You were my first family in England, and everybody took good care of me, especially the fans. All the best Gunners.”

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