Can Arsenal Keep Hold of Sanchez?

There were many times during the summer that it looked like Alexis Sánchez would be leaving the Emirates – and if it was not for Arsenal being unable to strike a deal for Monaco’s Thomas Lemar it is highly probable that the Chilean would be playing the majority of his football in Manchester right now.

Due to the north London club’s inability to sign the French winger, Sánchez stayed put and he has frequently looked fairly unhappy about his situation. Much has been made about Manchester City making another offer in January – and there has also been interest from Paris Saint-Germain and most recently Everton.

But there have been rumours of City ‘punishing’ Arsenal for the summer’s lack of business and waiting patiently until the end of the season when they can pick Sánchez up for free as he will be out of contract. That assumes that no one else will come in for the forward but it does suggest that he may well stay at Arsenal for longer than some had expected.

So, if Sánchez does remain a Gunner past the end of January, what does that mean for Arsenal? And can he push the side forward from last season’s disappointing league finish?

Form is Temporary
What do the bookies make of Arsenal’s chances this season? Currently, Wenger’s men are at 6/4 for a top four finish and a distant 66/1 for the title. The first option is definitely a target but for a title win it’s really a case of looking for free promotions and not putting too much money on the table.

As for Sanchez, It is not surprising that the Chilean has not been at his breath-taking best so far this season after the confusion of the summer transfer window. He obviously wanted a move to Manchester City and when that fell through it is understandable that his mind has not been wholly on the job in hand.

Add to that the injury he came back from the Confederations Cup with and the opening months of the season have been largely frustrating for Sánchez. But there have been flashes of his brilliance in the past few weeks and now that he is scored his first league goal of the season he could be on the way back.

Arsenal Unrest
It is not only the uncertainty over Sánchez’ future that has been a constant this season however. Other players – including Özil, whose contract also runs out in the summer – have come under attack for not performing and Arsenal have not really convinced that they will break back into the top four this season.

There has also been off field problems to contend with. A question still remains over how long Wenger will stay at the club – and certain fans would be more than happy for that relationship to end as soon as possible. The recent AGM ended abruptly amidst a chorus of boos aimed largely at chief executive Ivan Gazidis and it is probably fair to say that Arsenal is not a harmonious club at the moment.

Best Case Scenario
There will be some that will say that Arsenal should offload a player that doesn’t want to play for the club as quickly as possible and if a suitable offer is presented in January then that should be the end of the Chilean’s adventure in north London. But Sánchez is undoubtedly the best player in the squad and if Wenger can get him anywhere near his best then he would be a valuable asset in chasing one of those top four places.

The way the season has gone so far, even the most hopeful of Arsenal fans may well concede that the title is out of reach. But a happier, more settled side – back to their best form – should be able to push for a Champions League spot.

If Alexis Sánchez does leave Arsenal in January then it seems likely that other sides will have too much talent and firepower for Arsenal to finish where the fans expect them to finish. For that reason the club should do everything in their power to convince him to stay – at least until the end of the season.