We start by looking at the latest with Alexis Sanchez and his contract situation at Arsenal. Speculation regarding Sanchez’s future has been one of the features of the transfer window. Arsenal have repeatedly and very publicly announced that he is not for sale but that hasn’t stopped the rumours. Arsenal’s stance has been undermined by Sanchez’s refusal to sign a new contract as his is entering the final year. There’s no surprise that as a result Sanchez has been attracting a lot of interest. Man City have been linked the strongest.
We take a look at what could happen and what is likely to happen, plus some of the implications…
Nationality: 117 caps 38 goals
Position: wide attacking midfielder or striker
Reported Transfer Fee: £70mil
2016/17 League Stats: 36 starts (2 sub appearances) 24 goals (10 assists)
Could Arsenal possibly sale their best player? Could they also unthinkably sell him to one of their rivals? Recent history would suggest it’s a distinct possibility, certainly going by one example, which I’ll come to in a second…
Arsenal also have a history of selling a few players to the club, which seems to be at the centre of most of the Sanchez stories, Manchester City. I’m not completely sure these players are necessarily relevant however. Adebayor, Nasri and Clichy were sold plus Sagna left on a free transfer, all to Man City. Whilst Arsenal and their fans would have felt all these loses to varying extents, none of these players are Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez is World-Class and a game-changer by himself. To sell him to Man City would surely hand them the title.
The relevant example I suggested above is of course Robin Van Persie’s transfer to Man Utd. Wenger pretty much handed Utd the title by sanctioning that deal in 2012. Will he and Arsenal make the same mistake again? I’m not completely convinced. There’s no denying the circumstances are very similar with Van Persie too about to enter the final year of his contract but given the fury it caused amongst Arsenal fans it’s hard to see Wenger not learning from past experience.
Given the similar failings Arsenal experience year upon year, both domestically and in Europe, maybe it wouldn’t be a surprise to many of you if Wenger didn’t learn his lesson.
Up to this point I may have given the impression that I think Arsenal would be crazy to sell Sanchez to a rival. Well actually it’s not quite that black and white in my opinion. Had Wenger not sold Van Persie he probably would have been left with an unhappy player, who could have been a negative and unwanted influence around the club. He would have likely underperformed and left for free to a rival a year later anyway.
Many, if not all, of these same considerations could apply to Sanchez. From the outside it seems Sanchez is quite a high maintenance player. There appeared to be quite a few stories last season pointing to a difficult character to manage. Whilst his frustrations on the pitch have been there for everyone to see regularly.
Whilst such a sell will clearly strengthen a rival, the alternative isn’t much better and potentially worst. Hampering your own team’s form and harmony.
We really shouldn’t be surprised by the fees in football anymore but the indications are that Sanchez’s price could be between £60 and £70 million. A significant amount for any club in the World. So for a player in the last year of their contract, from a financial point of view, is there even a decision to make? The sensible thing to do is sell.
Sanchez would be a massive lost for any team. His goals and assists last season combined nearly contributed to a goal a game in the league and says everything about what he brings to the Arsenal team. Arsenal’s next top scorer was Giroud who was behind with half the amount of goals (12) Whilst Sanchez was also the top assister, even ahead of Ozil. He would be near impossible to replace with one purchase. Arsenal would ideally need a couple of signings to replace those goals and assists.
In Lacazette Arsenal look like they have signed a top quality goal-scorer and he should go a long way to replace some of Sanchez’s goals, if or when he does leave. However it’s the creativity Sanchez provides as well which would also need replacing in the attacking midfield area.
- Walcott has had plenty of opportunities for Arsenal and England and has failed to consistently perform and stay injury free.
- Iwobi is still quite raw and yet to fully convince he is Arsenal quality.
- Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future is also uncertain with a similar contract situation brewing, he could soon be off.
- Wenger seems to see Ramsey as more of a central midfielder at the moment, with his best position still up for debate.
- Whilst Welbeck, who has had a good start to the season and should be able to contribute significantly has had his own injury worries. If he stays fit he could find himself playing a more prominent role but it’s a big if.
- Ozil is obviously a starter but he’s another one who’s future is in the balance due his contract running down soon (more potential headaches for Arsenal)
Man City definitely don’t ‘need’ Sanchez. With Gabriel Jesus, Aguero, Sane, Bernardo Silva and Sterling the likely candidates vying for the three front roles Pep. prefers at the moment. Whilst David Silva and De Bruyne are arguably more used to advanced roles than they are currently playing too. So they’re not short of options. Sanchez’s purchase would massively effect the progression of Bernardo Silva, Sane and Sterling as they would likely be the ones which get less game-time.
So long-term it may not be a great move for these players and their development but there’s no denying that a front three of Aguero, Gabriel Jesus and Sanchez would be one of the most potent attacks in the World and comfortably the best in England and could propel them to plenty of titles.
I’m still not sure if Arsenal will sell Sanchez to Man City though, as their preference will be selling to a club abroad. I suspect they are trying to give that every opportunity which is sensible. What doesn’t make sense however is their approach to contract negotiations and allowing such a top player to enter the final year of his contract. Sanchez isn’t the the only one either. Ozil, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs and Wilshere will all be out of contract next summer.
You would expect better contract management from a top European club like Arsenal. It’s an unbelievable situation that they’ve got themselves into. There’s hundreds of millions of pounds worth of talent they risk losing for nothing. From a business stand-point it’s awful and someone must surely be held accountable.
Rational decisions aren’t always associated with Arsenal and Wenger is known to be quite stubborn. I think they will find it really hard to sell such a top player to a rival and potentially hand them the title despite the financial implications. I therefore think I would lean on Sanchez staying for one more season although I think that would be a crazy decision, for financial reasons, if it happens.
Will he stay or will go? Will Arsenal really sell to a rival? What do you think?