As readers of this blog may already be aware, I am a big fan of the Alexis Sanchez’s technical ability. I’ve always been of the opinion that Arsenal should break the bank to keep him happy. If he wants £400k per week, just give it to him or at least offer him something close to it. £275k per week is probably not close enough.
Nevertheless, Sanchez scored a spectacular PR own goal by posting pictures of himself looking ‘sick’. Actually, he looked more spoilt than sick, with his bottom lip protruding and a dog on his lap. Whoever advised him to post this rubbish deserves the sack.
I’m not even sure I’d keep Sanchez after this PR gaffe. It really sets the wrong tone ahead of a new season. Obviously, Sanchez wants to move, so by letting him go, Arsenal will allow the selfish sickie to get his own way, thus rewarding his poor behaviour. However, football is a team game and Sanchez’s presence could be toxic to morale, if that posting is anything to go by.
Although Wenger played it right by suggesting that ‘trust’ is important, there have been rumours circulating that suggest that Arsenal have sent a medical team over to chez Sanchez (sounds like a restaurant name if ever I heard one!) to check the validity of his ‘flu claims. Personally, I really can’t imagine Arsenal doing that, as there would be nothing to gain from it.
The only thing that Arsenal can gain now is money from Sanchez’s transfer. Even if he goes to Manchester City, there is no guarantee he win trophies there. As I mentioned earlier, football is a team game, and City, despite their financial clout may not be able to manage so many superstars. After all, if it were so easy to do that, why did City win nothing last season?
Meanwhile, I must add that, although Arsenal’s approach to the Sanchez has been dignified, the handling of Perez has been nothing short of shocking. I could not believe that the Spaniard was not even consulted before he was stripped of the number nine shirt. That kind of gesture hardly smacks of class.
Like many Arsenal fans, I am asking what did Perez do wrong? When called upon, he’s usually performed. It seems a great shame to bomb him out of the club for less money than he was brought in for, but that seems to be what will inevitably happen.
Additionally, I won’t be happy to see the back of Gibbs, who also appears destined to leave. Quite where he will go remains up in the air, but I feel that this is a transfer that Arsenal may regret in the future. If Gibbs can stay injury-free, he can be an asset at the top level. I’m not really sure it makes sense to cash in on him, unless he is absolutely adamant that he wants to leave. Personally, I think he adds something to Arsenal’s team and he is versatile enough to be used at left back or on the left side of midfield. I know Kolasinac is supposed to be the answer to any left-sided defensive problems, but Gibbs is worth keeping as back up to the Bosnia international and Monreal (who may get used as a centre back anyway!).
Talking of centre backs, nearly everyone (except Wenger) is of the opinion that Elneny is not cut out for that job. He’s a decent enough player, who can pass the ball well, but he seems to lack something in his game. In midfield, he simply doesn’t dominate. In defence, he looks shaky. It would be extremely foolish to start the season with Elneny as the lynchpin in defence, but I have a sneaky feeling that Wenger will try that.
It will be no good complaining about long-haul pre-season tours if Arsenal’s defence crumbles at the start of the new campaign. Personally, I’d be reluctant to sell Chambers and would have given him more playing opportunities centrally than Elneny. However, reading between the lines of team selections, it seems likely that Elneny will start at the back before mistakes are learned from. As Arsenal fans have witnessed in the past, with Stepanovs and Senderos, it takes Wenger a long time to realise his centre backs are not up to the task usually. Therefore (and I hope I am wrong), I am predicting a long run in the team for Elneny, unless results are absolutely catastrophic.
The pre-season defeats against Chelsea and Sevilla certainly do not augur well. Additionally, the relative lack of transfer business mixed with comments from Wenger about how more and more top players will be allowed to run down their contracts in future does not fill me with optimism regarding Arsenal’s prospects next season.
The major overhaul at the club should have happened much earlier in the pre-season. It would have made more sense to offload those that want to go at that point. I would have sold Ospina, as Martinez has performed better for some time. I would have sold Elneny, possibly, although I’m not sure I’ve completely given up on him. I’d even sell Perez, if I intended to treat him like scum by giving his number nine shirt to an incoming player without consulting him first. If he has to go cheaper than the amount Arsenal paid for him then so be it.
If you add fees for Ospina, Elneny, Perez and now Sanchez together, surely you could bring in a top name with that kind of money. Instead, Arsenal fans have to get used to the same old excuses trotted out season after season along the lines of: players are too expensive, so we couldn’t buy anyone. Logically, if they are too expensive, then you ought to be able to sell them for decent money too.
By allowing so many top players to reach the last year of their contracts, Arsenal have simply messed up. It is no good blaming the market for what has happened. Unfortunately, lessons have not been learned, it seems. Therefore, Arsenal simply have to deal with the situation they have created for themselves and sell those same players who do not want to sign new deals. It really makes no sense hanging onto the likes of Sanchez, who no longer want to be around.