A report in the Mirror suggests Alexis Sanchez may indeed be sticking around North London for at least another season and give Arsenal an opportunity to show proper ambition in the transfer market. Wait, no stop laughing! This is serious!
Alexis is basically daring the Arsenal board, and Arsene Wenger himself, to take the necessary steps off the field to provide a squad that can mount a real title challenge on it. This doesn’t seem to be an unreasonable ask at all, Alexis has been one of the standout players of the Premier League season and has been perhaps let down by the performances of his teammates at times as Arsenal sits a disappointing 5th in the league table.
The Mirror reports that if Arsenal’s actions in the transfer market and on the pitch next season are not up to Alexis’ standards, they risk losing the Chilean on a Bosman (free agent) transfer to Chelsea.
As John Cross writes,
The Chilean star is very happy in London, his home for almost three years since moving from Barcelona in a £30million-plus deal, and knows Antonio Conte's champions-elect are interested but privately believes Arsenal will not sell him to a direct rival.
With Juventus and PSG also very interested in Alexis, one of the more notable details in the article is Alexis’ apparent affection for the Premier League and living in London. Additionally, he’s already played in Italy, Udinese bought him from childhood club Cobreloa, and Ligue 1 doesn’t really offer the intensity and level of competition (this season notwithstanding) that Alexis seems to crave.
This is sort of a double-edged sword of a transfer rumor. At first glance it’s cool that Alexis wants to stay another season, yay! But on the other, it’s hard to imagine Arsenal being proactive enough in the transfer market that Alexis is satisfied. It also sets a sort of weird, if not dangerous, precedent for a club to shape their transfer plans in order to appease one player.
Cross reports that Arsenal have offered Sanchez a £250,000-a-week contract to stay at the Emirates, but the hold up is more about the ambition of the club, as opposed to finances.
Alexis has repeatedly maintained he is happy at Arsenal, in London, and wants to stay. It’s up to the board and Arsene Wenger to do what it takes on and off the field to ensure that world class players like Alexis, and Mesut Ozil, don’t flee for greener pastures. If not, they risk losing yet another elite player far too early.