Niall Quinn says Alexis Sanchez can become Arsenal’s main man up front after scoring the goal that took them into the Champions League group stage.
The Chile forward, signed for £35million from Barcelona over the summer, repaid a huge chunk of that fee by netting the winner in a 1-0 aggregate win over Besiktas on Wednesday night.
Sanchez was substituted after drawing a blank against Everton on Saturday, but may be asked to play as a centre-forward more often after it was confirmed Olivier Giroud could be out until the New Year with an ankle injury.
And Quinn has backed him to go on a goalscoring run after scoring in such a huge game.
“He looked as if he belonged today,” he told Sky Sports.
“The goal will give him so much confidence because in the second half the crowd cheered him time and time again. He was up for the battle on his own at times up front; he won the ball, he backed into people, he felt free.
“He really looked like an Arsenal player as the second half wore on and that goal is so valuable to him. He will probably see the next one coming now and go on a run.
“That’s what goals do. When you’re a striker, you can’t put a value on getting a goal for a new club when you’ve had a big fee. It just eases everything.”
Quinn says Jack Wilshere, who also played a key role in Arsenal’s goal, can similarly take confidence from his display against Besiktas.
The midfielder was left out by Arsene Wenger for Saturday’s game against Everton, but Quinn says he thrived in the absence of the suspended Aaron Ramsey and must prove himself as an important player in future matches.
“He took the game by the scruff of the neck and that’s what he’s got to do,
“He’s got to show that he’s so good at what he does that he doesn’t have to worry about Ramsey or about other players. He has to be the main man.
“If enough Arsenal players do that alongside him then you’ll have the real Arsenal. That’s the deal we’re looking for.”