Should Arsenal have sold Alexis Sanchez in the summer?
Disinterested, disengaged, disappointed. Three words that can describe Arsenal fans and their talented talisman. Compared to last season, Alexis Sanchez’s form has dropped off drastically. The previous campaign was certainly the most fruitful in his career. The Chilean hit 30 goals and produced 19 assists in 51 appearances.
With less than a year left on his contract, Arsenal’s recruitment policy looks in complete disarray. He’s one of five players whose deal runs out in the summer. An additional ten players only have eighteen months left. With continual speculation regarding Arsene Wenger’s tenure, especially in light of recent backroom changes, the Gunners appear to be a hot mess. Is it purely the media stirring things up or is the Emirates really as dysfunctional as we think?
Alexis’ form has dropped
After 16 games last season, the former Udinese and Barcelona man had scored 12 goals and laid on six assists. He was deployed on a regular basis as a centre forward. It certainly paid dividends.
This season, however, he’s been played mainly in the attacking midfield role. This can be attributed to Alexandre Lacazette's arrival. Additionally, Sanchez has been benched on a few occasions. The much-heralded triumvirate comprising himself, Mesut Ozil, and Lacazette has only started three league games together.
Of the trio, Alexis has been given the most game time. Arsene Wenger has placed the responsibility of being the talisman firmly on his shoulders.
Only, in the 15 games and 1238 minutes Sanchez has played so far this season, he’s looked like a player trapped. Too often, he's tried to force. In recent games, he’s given the ball away on a regular basis. Either that’s great scouting by opponents, or poor decision-making by the player. Considering the Chilean's demeanour and slacking effort, it’s certainly been the latter.
If this were an Eagles song...
Sanchez would already be gone. Just like Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Robin Van Persie, and Cesc Fabregas before him. Alexis belongs on a list of former Arsenal players, but try telling Wenger that.
It's been five years since a prized asset had been sold. Clinging to bad relationships seems to be the Frenchman's current transfer policy. At this point in his career, Wenger should have more trophies.
By extension, so should Sanchez. Before coming to England, the canine enthusiast had two domestic titles, a Copa del Rey, and two Super Cups. Now, he's been dogged by the inability to add anything more than a pair of FA Cups. Conversely, he's overachieved internationally. With him spearheading the attack, Chile has claimed back-to-back Copa America crowns.
In pulling out of the Manchester City deal, was Wenger trying to prove he's not a feeder for big clubs? That he still has the backbone to stand up to players? If so, it was a moot point, to be honest. Sanchez & Ozil are the wrong players not to cash in on.
Alternatively, squad players like Theo Walcott should not be earning wages on par with the two superstars. Or vice versa. It begs the question, if Sanchez was English, would Wenger have ceded to his demands? Walcott has done nothing to justify his new deal.
Fans at their limit
Performances over the past 18 months have reflected a collection of individuals rather than a team. The debacle at Anfield especially. Ironically, Liverpool is Arsenal's next opponent. Alexis has failed to impress against the Reds in three matches. Poor form over a personal point has only exacerbated the situation.
Fans are finally starting to realise he is now playing for himself. They are beginning to turn on him. Boos will only encourage him to try to force a move again in January. Even though it will take a special player to replace Alexis Sanchez, Sanchez's form improves, Wenger may have no choice but to sell.