The Chilean is locked in contract talks with
the Gunners but at the age of 28 and at
the peak of his footballing powers, he
would show a lack of ambition by signing
a new deal.
These are worrying times for Arsenal fans.
Successive defeats to Everton and
Manchester City have delivered a hammer
blow to the club’s chances of winning the
Premier League and to add to the
Christmas doom and gloom, star duo
Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are still no
closer to extending contracts that expire in
The future of the German is linked directly
to that of Arsene Wenger. The Frenchman’s
own deal runs out at the end of the current
campaign and Ozil is refusing to commit
until he knows who his manager will be
from 2017-18 onwards.
Alexis’ motives are unrelated to Wenger
and he is currently demanding a big
increase on his £130,000-a-week contract.
The Chilean is known to be happy in
London and the feeling is that he will
eventually ink a new deal at the Emirates
However, could any genuinely objective
Arsenal fan really blame Alexis were he to
choose to quit the club?
The former Barcelona ace is a world-class
attacker who would walk into almost any
team in the world. Right now, El Nino
Maravilla would strengthen the starting XI
of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Bayern
Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain,
Chelsea and both Manchester clubs. Barca
are the only major side who wouldn’t be
improved by the frontman due to the
presence of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and
“The level Sanchez is playing at now is not
a shock to me at all, he is one of the top
forwards in Europe and now everybody is
seeing it,” his former team-mate Xavi told
Goal last week.
“At Arsenal he is their main threat.
Anybody who has played with him will
know of his qualities and not be at all
surprised he is now being considered one
of the best attacking players in the world.
“What gets him so much respect is his
work rate. He has this obvious ability but
also works so hard for the team, he never
A number of Europe’s superpowers would
jump at the chance to take Alexis in a cut-
price deal in the summer were he to turn
down a renewal at Arsenal. Man City, for
example, tried and failed to sign him in
2014 and would surely come calling again
given the opportunity, despite Pep
Guardiola’s recent denials .
Premier League favourites Chelsea have
made the signing of a blue-chip attacker
their priority ahead of their return to
Champions League football. Manager
Antonio Conte is a huge admirer of Alexis,
twice trying to buy him for Juventus – with
the failure to bag him the second time one
of the reasons the Italian dramatically quit
the Old Lady three summers ago.
Juve remain big fans, Paris Saint-Germain
will almost certainly sign a top-class
forward in the summer and Bayern Munich
need to renew their ageing attack, with
Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery
approaching their mid-thirties.
Unlike Arsenal, these clubs all offer Alexis
the chance to win major trophies – either
their domestic leagues or, in many cases,
the Champions League, also.
Wenger and his loyalists can live in denial
as much as they want, but Arsenal have
no chance of landing the Premier League
or European Cup any time soon. They are
already nine points behind Chelsea and
instead should be looking over their
shoulders at Tottenham and, in particular,
an improving Manchester United in the
race for the top four. It will be 13 years
since Arsenal last won the title in May;
why should Alexis expect that drought to
end if he signs a new contract?
As for the Champions League, Arsenal
have been knocked out of that competition
at the last-16 stage for six successive
seasons, and have won just eight knockout
ties in total since Wenger took over 20
years ago. This miserable run is likely to
continue in February when the Gunners
tackle Bayern Munich.
Alexis deserves to be playing at the very
highest level, competing in major finals
and lifting trophies. Since moving to
Europe a decade ago, he has not won
much silverware of significance, La Liga in
2013 being his only truly prestigious prize.
An FA Cup and Community Shield here and
there is not befitting of someone of his
This season, Alexis has scored 12 goals
and delivered six assists in the Premier
League alone. No player in the English top
flight has been involved in more goals in
2016-17. His 56 strikes in 117 games for
Arsenal in all competitions is hugely
impressive when you consider that he is
naturally a winger and has only recently
been consistently deployed in an advanced
Alexis turned 28 earlier this week and is
now at the peak of his footballing powers,
but he only has a few years left at the very
highest level. The Chilean burst onto the
scene as a 16-year-old and was already
playing 40 senior games a season back in
2005. For someone who has barely been
afforded a rest in recent years and will
have clocked up five summer international
tournaments in a row after the 2018 World
Cup, time will soon take its toll on his
Alexis must seize the moment and play for
a club that is worthy of his world-class
ability or he will regret it at the end of his
career when he counts his medals. Arsenal
are not that club.