Sanchez flashes his value in Chile's Confederations Cup tie with Germany

The Chile-Germany match was largely a dud, but Alexis Sanchez reminded everyone he’s anything but. (AP)

One of the biggest prizes of this summer’s transfer market did his best.

Alexis Sanchez, the 28-year-old Arsenal forward who has led Chile to back-to-back Copa America titles, scored and whipped a free kick just high in La Roja’s 1-1 tie with Germany in the Confederations Cup on Thursday. The defending South American champions were evenly matched with the World Cup holders, who got on the board through Lars Stindl.

Sanchez has just one season left on his contract with the Gunners. And while the club is among the richest in the world, it seems unwilling to meet his towering salary demands — which are nevertheless befitting one of the best players on the globe. And so Sanchez might very well leave for no other reason than that Arsenal is a very wealthy club that refuses to act like one because of a frugal philosophy that handicaps the club every transfer window.

Players like Sanchez who are in their prime don’t come on the market very often. And so when they do, the biggest of clubs show up to declare their interest. Sanchez has suitors from other teams in England — namely Manchester City and Chelsea — and all over Europe, including Juventus, possibly Paris Saint-Germain and definitely Bayern Munich.

He needed just six minutes to demonstrate why he is so coveted. Arturo Vidal got a foot on a bad pass out of the back from Sanchez’s Arsenal teammate-for-now Shkodran Mustafi. Sanchez picked the ball up, played the one-two with Vidal, got it back and scored off the inside of the near post. It was an opportunistic and dynamic goal by a player who matches innate skill with a weaponized belligerence:


It was Sanchez’s 38th goal for Chile, breaking the all-time record for his national team, passing Marcelo Salas — who admittedly did it in 70 games, rather than Sanchez’s 112.

It hadn’t taken very long for Chile’s signature pressure to pay off. And in the 20th minute, it nearly doubled the score, but Eduardo Vargas’s rocket from outside the box smashed off the bar.

Germany slowly labored its way into the game as the first half lumbered on. Before halftime, that toil would pay off. In the 41st minute, Emre Can found Jonas Hector up the left on a counter-attack. Hector’s low cross was stabbed home by Stindl:


Just after the intermission, Alexis whipped a free kick inches over the bar. From the corner of the penalty area, his effort spun viciously, but it rose too high to come back down in time.

It was the last chance either side would create. Neither was particularly interested in ramping up the intensity in this middle game of the group stage. And understandably so. Chile and Germany had both won their Group B tournament openers against Cameroon and Australia, respectively. And given that the the latter two had tied 1-1 earlier in the day, that meant a draw here would pretty much guarantee that both teams would advance to the semifinals.

Both Australia and Cameroon will now not only need to win their final games, but to make up the goal difference. Those are tall orders.

And so the showdown between two of the tournament’s favorites — not to mention some of the strongest teams in the world, ranked third (Germany) and fourth (Chile) by FIFA — turned out to be a dud.

Yet somehow, Sanchez only raised his stock further.

Leander Schaerlaeckens is a Yahoo Sports soccer writer. Follow him on Twitter @LeanderAlphabet.

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