Arsenal: Keeping Alexis Sanchez was a gamble not worth taking

Is a bitter, complaining and half-hearted Sanchez really that much better than no Sanchez?


Following his national side’s difficult week, with losses to Paraguay and Bolivia meaning that qualification is all the more tough from the South American group, Alexis Sanchez took to Instagram to proclaim that he was tired of being criticised, most notably by his countrymen, both with and without reason.

After the frustration of the transfer window, in which Arsenal denied him his preferred move to Manchester City, it does not suggest that this is a man in the most positive frame of mind at the moment.

So long, farewell

By refusing to let him leave, Arsene Wenger took a massive gamble.

The logic is that Sanchez would see out the final year of his current deal with enough motivation to play well for the club, helping them to return to the Champions League.

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In doing so, he'd earn a move away next summer to a club of his choosing, though I’m sure that the Frenchman hoped that the Chilean would have a change of heart over leaving and ultimately sign a new deal in the next twelve months.

As it stands, it looks as though Sanchez will be spending this year crying and moaning, at the exact moment when they need him to be on top of his game.

One hell of a gamble

Wenger has said the cost of keeping Sanchez for this season, and finding a replacement for him should he decide not to stay, may get to around £140 million if the Chilean leaves on a free transfer next year.

It’s one hell of a cost, one that is more than any qualification for the Champions League would likely bring in, and one hell of a gamble.

Some of the signs don’t look too promising for the coming year, so why on earth did they keep him?

Surely it serves little purpose to keep around a player who is not prepared to give their all for the cause. 

Shambles

The main reason Sanchez did not leave was that Arsenal weren’t able to complete the signing of Thomas Lemar from Monaco, who would have taken the former’s place in the side.

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That they left such a deal to the very last minute didn’t exactly help them when it came to negotiating the cost.

Had they sorted out the Sanchez situation much earlier, perhaps they’d have got Lemar prior to deadline day and would now have a player who is seemingly much more committed to the cause than the Chilean.

The last thing Arsenal need

There can be little doubt that Sanchez wanted out and his social media outburst suggest a frustrated person who Arsenal now have to reintegrate back into their squad.

A wantaway player is not the most useful person to have around in a dressing room and now is not really the time when Arsenal can deal with people not pulling their weight.

Their performance last time out at Anfield didn’t suggest a place where all is well. In fact, anything but.

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Richard Firth

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A follower of all sports, but in particular football.

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