Alexis Sanchez has arguably been one of Arsenal’s most glorious signings in the last 10 years. He’s also been one of its more frustrating players too. It’s no wonder there is a debate on the merits of selling him or keeping him.
We all know what he can do. He is the energizer bunny wrapped up 5’7” tan and muscled frame. He is, when on, the means to driving Arsenal forward, with his goals. But are there any reasons why, Arsenal should consider selling him now? We want to explore those now.
He’ll Never Be Worth More than He is Right Now
At 27 (almost 28 years old), Alexis is at his peak value with only 1 year left on his contract. Whatever contract he signs next will take him to 30 or over. That makes him less likely to be valued at what he is now.
£50m may seem low, but let’s remember he has one year left. If this was a situation with 2 or more years, you could see his value being close to the £100m mark (in the current environment.)
If Arsenal are forced to sell, they’ll get a good fee for him and probably the best one they get for him at any time in the near future.
When he Gets Injured, Expect A Long-Term Lay Off
There isn’t a person alive who hasn’t marveled at Sanchez’s physical ability to play with minimum rest and avoid injury. But there is a reality that even he must face – as he gets older the likelihood of injury will increase. Downtime and letting the body recover are going to be instrumental. It’s just simply physiology. He’s not going to be able to do this forever.
The fact is this, at some point, Alexis is going to break down. The load on his body will be too much and he will pay a toll for this. I suspect as do some others, that when he does break down it will be for a long time. Why?
He doesn’t want to sit out. He will try and force himself to play and likely not follow through on any prescribed training timetable. He’ll come back and then get out on a field and break down. Why do I think this?
Well, we’re Arsenal, that’s always how it happens. But besides normal Arsenal fan instincts, it’s just looking at the mentality of the player, the age of the player and the fact that the wear and tear is going to catch up to him at some point.
People laugh at dutch Ray – Raymond Verheijen, but the theories of periodization he espouses are sound. It looks at the load players can and should take on and building a training regimen that helps alleviate the load on the body. That’s what makes Alexis Sanchez more miraculous – the fact that he defies that.
The one thing he can’t defy is aging and aging has an impact on the body to recover. He’s still putting a max load on himself. Hell, when he signed for Arsenal he had played, I think it was stated about 72 game between league and Nation. It’s unreal. But he’s going to have to be aware of this and either rethink his approach or be ready for the consequences.
When he does get injured and isn’t the impact player he was – then look to the first reason – he’ll not be worth what he would’ve been.
He’s a Peripheral Team Member
Don’t read that wrong. I am not saying he is a secondary player or a bit player. What I am saying is, ever since he signed, he’s seemed on the outside of everything.
Everything about Alexis Sanchez feels transient to me. It doesn’t feel like he’s tried to establish himself here as some other players do.
Now look, in this day and age, players don’t attach themselves per se to the clubs any more. Its all about themselves but they do tend to get close to players on the team they are playing for. Alexis has looked “friendly” with his teammates but you’d be hard pressed to identify one that he ‘pals’ around with.
That being said, what we see is minimal. We’re relegated to seeing pictures of training and not all of training. But the reason I feel this way is from my own experience.
For a 6 year period I was laid off from my job 3 times. From that experience I never wanted to create roots at any other place I worked. I never brought in nick nacks for the office or participated with coworkers in any after work activities. Work to me was too fleeting and transient.
I just see that Sanchez keeps people at a distance because he is in fact a transient person and knows he won’t be there too long to get attached to any one person.
But at least he has his dogs.
His Go It Alone Attitude is Great but It Can Hurt the Team
There is no doubting that when the ball is at Alexis’ feet, he can make something happen. Conversely when with that ball at his feet, many good opportunities die because he simply insists on going it alone.
During the downturn of the 16/17 season, when everything went wrong, Alexis was lauded as being a bright spot at times. But he was also part of the problem. Many wasted chances would go missing because as he drove forward, rather than make the pass to the 1 or 2 available options in front or square to him, he would drive into the box and go from single pressure to 3-4 defenders pressuring him, often times resulting in him losing the ball and a transition out of the attacking third.
We all appreciate his work ethic, but sometimes that work ethic would best be applied as playing within the system effectively. He has so much skill that even just driving the ball forward and making the pass would’ve been applauded.
For Sanchez though, he wants to be the guy. He has always done that and he will continue to do that. And at some level we want goal scorers to be selfish We want them to go for goal. But we also want our players to recognize when its better to bring in a teammate and keep the chance going rather than letting in die in a “valiant” attempt to try and score.
Towards the end of Henry’s time with Arsenal we relied on him so much because of who he was. But at times our system of play and some of the players in that system suffered. When he was removed (sold) players like Van Persie began to shine because Henry was no longer trying to be the focal point of everything.
It’s something worth considering that removing Sanchez from the system within someone who is more inclined to be inclusive in the attack might make the attack more effective.
Look, no one wants a player like Alexis Sanchez to leave. In fact the more I read on social media and in the papers, I think it’s less likely he does – at least not this season. But it isn’t the end of the world for Arsenal and getting into doom and gloom mode.
A Last Word
I tend not to get sucked in by ITKs. There are so many out there who profess to know what’s going on. If it was all to be believed everyone on twitter knows what’s going on and none of it is the same. But there I believe a few people who know something. Combine that with reading as much as I can and I tend to try and draw my own conclusions.
With regard to the Sanchez transfer mini-saga, I don’t think there will be one this year. I don’t think Arsenal will sell to City. That much is sure. Had Sanchez been able to come to terms with Bayern, I suspect we’d be waving goodbye. But Bayern is many things and one of them is a well-run club and well, they weren’t going to meet his salary demands.
So what I think we can expect is one of 3 possible scenarios:
- Alexis stays without extending – Arsenal lose him next season
- Alexis signs a 2 year extension and that extension comes with a clause that allows him to be sold next season should Arsenal fail to make the Champion’s League or some other similar incentive based condition. It’s a win-win for both as it would allow Sanchez to leave and it would allow Arsenal to make some money off of him.
- Bayern come back into the picture, with an amended salary/rights offer and he’s off and we sign players to replace what was lost through Sanchez.