Arsene Wenger’s decision to keep Alexis Sanchez could have mixed consequences for the club come the end of next season.
After an entire summer of uncertainty, right from the last kick of the FA Cup final to Sanchez kissing the Arsenal badge at the training session on Wednesday, these unpredictable clouds have constantly darkened the mood of the Emirates faithful. Since the news of contract stand-off came out in the open, vultures have been doing their rounds with Manchester City and PSG strongly linked to the Chilean superstar. There was initial interest from Bayern Munich and Chelsea, which cooled over time.
Alexis himself has been quiet on the matter but did reveal before the Confederations Cup Final that a personal decision was made. Still, there has been no word from him directly on what that decision was, but the general belief is he wants out and is keen on working with Pep Guardiola at Man City.
Our recent history is not a merry one when it comes to contractual discussions with the players who are in the final year of their contract. Back in the summer of 2011 and 2012 when Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie left the club for City and United respectively, Wenger for most of the summer insisted on not selling any of those players(similar to his comments over the past few weeks in relation to Sanchez’s future) but sold them anyway. Back then we could easily point at the finances involved, as Arsenal were still going through the stadium loan repayments.
From a financial stand point, a club would generally sell an unsettled player and re-coup some of the investment made on the player. If Sanchez is sold, Arsenal certainly stand to make more than the £35 million they paid Barcelona in 2014, with Man City reportedly offering £50 million. There were talks about Arsenal demanding upwards of £80 or £90 million to sell him to a direct Premier League rival.
The general feeling was that the club would eventually sell him for good money. On the other hand, the player’s salary demands kept on rising as Arsenal offered improved terms of nearly £300k, which was supposedly turned down by his camp. So a ridiculous offer from one of those cash rich clubs would have surely tempted Arsenal to sell, but that has not been the case so far.
Arsene Wenger has invested this summer on some really good players, with few more expected to join before the transfer window closes, but time and again Wenger has made it clear that Sanchez will definitely stay at least for one more season.
Now, what does this mean? Lots of possibilities could arise. One scenario will see him leaving on a Bosman transfer, to which he’ll find no shortage of suitors. He could certainly choose from an array of financially strong clubs suiting his competitive ambitions. On the other hand, he could yet sign an improved contract(like Suarez) and if Arsenal are to sell him next summer they may yet re-coup the money invested in him and have a strong hand in negotiations with prospective clubs.
One thing we cannot ignore about Sanchez is the fact that he has a lot of years left in him despite his advancing age. Wenger’s idea clearly is to play him alongside summer signing Lacazette and with Alexis, Arsenal have a much better chance of challenging for the title. The forward is a top-level professional, and Wenger knows such players would perform at an optimum level, especially before a World Cup year and he certainly expects a starring performance from his star player.
Arsene’s decision could prove to be the catalyst if the Gunners end up winning the Premier League which in turn could convince the Chilean to stay, but that’s a big ‘if’. Coming to the supporters, they will look forward to Alexis tormenting defences and probably see him win the Premier League before he leaves, of course, if he ever leaves.
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