Why Arsenal Must Hang On to Alexis Sanchez at All Costs Even if it Means Running Down His Contract
Gunners fans don’t have to cast their minds too far back to remember the days of losing their best players, as the club prioritised paying off a move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006.
In fact, you could argue that selling to a domestic rival was once intrinsically woven into the fabrics of the club. Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gael Clichy, Kolo Toure and, perhaps most agonisingly of all, Robin van Persie all left to join Premier League rivals Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United between 2006 and 2012.
Yet, there is something simmering in the background that threatens to derail the club, as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are the two most high-profile first teammers to enter the final 12 months of their contract with no renewal in sight.
The case with Ozil is seemingly less pressing; the lack of clamour for his signature from other clubs has led to his absence from headline news. And with few options on the table, there is an air of expectancy that he will eventually put pen to paper on a new deal.
While news of the German extending his contract would be met with joy by the Emirates faithful, it's Sanchez who they really desire to see sign on with the Gunners.
And it’s the overbearing presence of Manchester City lurking in the shadows, waiting to pounce, that strikes the most fear into the Arsenal fans’ hearts.
After finishing fifth in the Premier League last season, and subsequently missing out on Champions League football for the first time since 1998, Arsenal need to be resolute and ward off any interest from potential suitors.
Some may argue that the Gunners should cash in and sell a player who only has 12 months left on his contract – especially as the fee is believed to be between £50m and £60m.
However, that sum will look parsley if Sanchez scores enough goals next season to put Arsenal back into the Champions League and perhaps mount a serious title challenge.
A successful season may even convince to the Chile international to put pen to paper on a new deal. The reality is that Arsenal have been telling their fans, the press, and anyone else who will listen that they no longer need to sell their best assets.
Those words now need to be put into action.The summer has started brightly for the North London club, after the arrival of Sead Kolasinac and Lacazette, as well as the rumoured interest in Monaco’s Thomas Lemar.
Start the season with those additions lining up alongside Sanchez and Ozil and the air around the Emirates will be one of optimism and hope.
Arsenal have the chance to set the tone for the new season, and it’s now down to them to define what type of club that they want to be.