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Sanchez staying at the Emirates?
Friday, 14th Jul 2017 10:14

Arsenal fans were tantalised with a picture of Alexis Sanchez modelling the Gunners’ new third kit for the 2017-18 season this week. Many interpreted it as a clear indication that the Chilean superstar would be plying his trade at The Emirates for at least another season and positively rejoiced.

It came on the same day that fellow contract rebel Mesut Ozil declared his wish to stay at Arsenal, and followed on from the £52 million signing of Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette. There are plenty of reasons for Gooners to be optimistic this summer, with the club’s pursuit of the talented Thomas Lemar another indication that the club is heading in the right direction, but the most important concern is keeping hold of Sanchez.

Ozil is easy on the eye and has a graceful style and a wonderful eye for a pass, but over the past few seasons Sanchez has proved himself the more effective attacking force. There is little graceful about him as he bulldozes through defences, and his goal scoring record is phenomenal, particularly as he is typically marooned out wide. His all-action, hard-pressing style and never-say-die attitude is also an inspiration to teammates and, while Ozil typically went missing, Sanchez carried Arsenal for large periods of the 2016-17 campaign.

It is no wonder that the Premiership’s leading clubs are queuing up to sign him. He is a proven talent, guaranteed to provide bags of goals and assists, and he has an outstanding work ethic. He is arguably the most devastating attacking force in the Premiership, even compared to Eden Hazard. He would be certain to get into a Premiership XI and that is probably the only Arsenal player you can say that about.

It seems that after years of caving in to wantaway stars Wenger is finally going to play hardball. After seeing Robin van Persie defect to Man Utd, Cesc Fabregas force through a move to Chelsea and all manner of stars, from Samir Nasri to Emanuel Adebayor, leave for Man City, Wenger has seemingly decided enough is enough. Previously he would be planning for the future and, if a player was in the final year of his contract, refusing to sign an extension and agitating for a move, Wenger would cash in to reinvest in the squad rather than letting the player leave on a free transfer the following summer. He is in a similar situation with Sanchez and Ozil this summer.

The biggest clubs in Europe are not exactly lining up to sign Ozil after the German playmaker largely had a season to forget, so it is understandable that he has declared his intention to stay. Arsenal will still be fortunate to tie him down to a new deal as he has a phenomenal eye for a pass and you need someone like that when you have assembled the collection of pacey forwards that Wenger has gathered at The Emirates now. But the real prize is keeping Sanchez, and with the like of Man City and Chelsea keen to pay through the roof for him, it is a real test of Wenger’s resolve. But he is now planning not for the future but solely for the present, snapping up stars in their prime for large sums and fighting to keep his best players.

Wenger knows he is running out of time as a manager and his legacy could depend on the next couple of seasons. It all makes Arsenal a rather attractive dark horse for the 2017-18 title. They may not win it, but at the huge odds being offered on them, they could make a great each-way option. Last season youwager sportsbook offered competitive odds for the premiership and this season they will offer more, so review them before placing a wager. You will find Arsenal well above 10/1 to win the title, and that is an intriguing option on a team unencumbered by Champions League football (Wenger is unlikely to take the Europa League seriously) and fully gunning for the title. They are getting their transfer business done earlier than normal and typically do much better in seasons that do not follow a major international summer tournament, so Ars enal could well be in the mix next May. Who knows, if they finally seize that elusive title, Sanchez might stick around even longer.

Photo: Action Images

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