(Changes quarter-final to last 16 in 9th para)
July 10 (Reuters) - Arsenal have completed the signing of Barcelona striker Alexis Sanchez, the Premier League club said on Thursday.
"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," the club's manager Arsene Wenger said.
"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."
The clubs had already reached a deal in principle but were ironing out personal terms for the player who was deemed surplus to requirements at Barca by new manager Luis Enrique despite him scoring 39 goals in 88 appearances for the Catalans.
Sanchez's move to London will be a blow to Liverpool who were hoping to sign him as part of a deal taking Luis Suarez in the other direction. Sanchez had also attracted interest from Italian champions Juventus.
"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," Sanchez, who completed a medical on Thursday, said.
"I'm looking forward to meeting my new team mates and to be playing for Arsenal in the Premier League and Champions League."
Sanchez was a key member of the Chile team that shone in Brazil, reaching the World Cup last 16 before losing to the hosts on penalties. He scored two goals in four appearances.
Arsenal's lack of striking prowess has been blamed for their failure to challenge for the Premier League title since the departure of Robin van Persie to Manchester United in 2012.
Their total of 68 goals from 38 matches was the lowest of the top four last season with Frenchman Olivier Giroud top scoring in the league with 16.
Noted for his speed and tenacity, Sanchez should give Wenger far more attacking options and prove to be a popular signing for the club's fans.
"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 squad," Wenger said.
Sanchez is expected to make his first appearance in Arsenal colours in the pre-season Emirates Cup on Aug 2-3.
($1 = 0.5877 British Pounds) (Reporting By Tony Goodson; editing by Martyn Herman)
- Sports & Recreation
- Alexis Sanchez
- Arsenal Football Club
- Premier League
- Arsene Wenger