The gamble to keep Alexis Sanchez in the last year of his contract was an admirable one, especially by Wenger’s standards, as the Frenchman is never against making a bit of money for the club. With Arsenal beginning to slip down the table and offering up very little evidence of a change in direction, how wise was it to keep the £140,000 a week and £70 million Sanchez?
Hindsight is obvious perfect science and at one stage, Arsenal had come around to the idea of letting him go – but the deal for their target man Thomas Lemar fell through on deadline day and that could turn out to be costly. Rumour has it Sanchez has no intention of signing a new contract and could walk away from the Emirates at the end of the season for free.
Arsenal fans could probably just about live with that should Arsenal qualify for the Champions League after a season out of it. That equation is beginning to look more and more unlikely as the Gunners have been beaten four times in only 11 games and lie sixth. Nothing is won in November, but there is a lot to be lost.
Arsene Wenger said after the transfer window closed that with Sanchez staying at the club, it could cost Arsenal £140m. The Arsenal manager alluded to missing out on the £70m transfer fee from City and then having to replace Sanchez with the same amount after he leaves on a free next summer. So far, Sanchez is not doing his bit to ensure his parent club are receiving maximum value from him.
With so much at stake, Sanchez cuts a dejected figure that is counting the days until he gets to link up with Guardiola at City. Taking the cash for him when it was on the table looks the wisest option a couple of months down the line. Arsenal’s star man may have his best Arsenal days behind him and that will cause major concern.
There aren’t too many other players at Arsenal that have the talent Sanchez does apart from Ozil but his head also looks to have been turned. The talismanic players that can lead Arsenal to the Champions League are falling to the wayside, and their hopes hang precariously with them backed at 15/8 to return to Europe’s grandest showpiece with a top-four finish, which may make for a prudent use of a £30 free bet from bookmakers including William Hill.
Arsene Wenger may be under constant persecution because of his transfer policy, but this is where he can redeem himself and use the years of man-management he has gained, in order to turn this situation around. He needs Sanchez to produce that X-factor football he has and help Arsenal become a force again. He currently looks a shadow of the player that ripped West Ham apart last December with a crushing hat-trick.
Whatever ends up happening to Alexis Sanchez, this current saga is not painting him in the most flattering of lights. A wonderful and incredibly skilled footballer, yes, but his lack of effort is making him come across as high maintenance accompanied with a do not touch sign. It is certainly also in Sanchez’s best interests to pull his socks up and inspire Arsenal again.