Recent events have got me thinking: would life at Arsenal after Alexis Sanchez be so bad?
Many believe that the Chilean forward is by far Arsenal’s best player and while I tend to believe this is probably true since my bae (aka Mesut Ozil) hasn’t been quite the same since Christmas, this doesn’t mean to say that we would be doomed without him.
Alexis has directly contributed to 26 Premier League goals this season; he’s scored 17 and assisted nine. Since signing from Barcelona in 2014, he’s netted 61 over all competitions. There’s no doubt that his stats are amazing. Combine this with his work rate and his desire to not just win but be on the pitch at all costs and there’s no wonder that some of Europe’s top clubs are reportedly lying in wait for negotiations with Arsenal over a new contract to fall apart.
While we’ve already established that reports claiming that Arsenal are willing to sell the 28-year-old for £43m are most likely complete nonsense, the fact of the matter is that Alexis is out of contract is under 18 months and if he doesn’t sign an extension, we’ll be seeing him leave on a free next summer.
The mere idea of Alexis – one of the best players we’ve seen in an Arsenal shirt for a long time – leaving any time soon sends most Gooners into a cold sweat. But, you know what? I’m not half as worried. Of course, this could be the delusion talking.
For all his strengths, Alexis isn’t super-human. And over the last month or so, I’ve started to see his misgivings highlighted on a larger scale. His habit of holding onto the ball that bit too long and being selfish is something that’s always annoyed me but since he’s been scoring or assisting, I’ve brushed it aside. Since he’s not been playing too well recently and has still insisted on hanging onto the ball, going it alone but doing nothing with it, I’ve felt my patience waning.
The icing on the cake for me was when he threw a strop after getting subbed off against Swansea. We were winning comfortably and Danny Welbeck, his teammate, needed minutes on the pitch since he was returning from a long-term injury. For Alexis to sulk off the pitch and then sit with his coat over his head like a schoolboy who’s just had his conker confiscated was bad form from him, in my opinion. That episode still has me a little confused.
While Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud aren’t even nearly on Alexis’ level, they’re team players and I reckon we could use both effectively if Alexis were to leave, especially since Welbz can be pushed out wider as his fitness reaches its best again.
Since signing for Arsenal, Giroud has contributed to a goal roughly every 107.52 minutes, while Alexis has done so every 103.19. Welbz hasn’t even managed half the amount of minutes as the other two since signing from Manchester United due to injuries but, on average, he either scores or assists every 135.63 minutes. I imagine, if he had the chance to get fully fit, this number could be vastly improved upon.
Of course this is assuming that when/if Alexis goes, we don’t replace him. Ideally we would.
Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus is a player Arsenal have been linked with for years. The speedy 27-year-old forward isn’t dissimilar from Alexis and although he’s spent the majority of this season sidelined through injury, he’s managed two Bundesliga goals and three assists in eight appearances.
The German international has two-and-a-half years left on his Dortmund contract and could reportedly be lured to north London, with claims that he would set us back around £50m.
Reus may not be on Alexis’ level but we don’t need another Alexis. We just need someone to work alongside our existing players who’s capable, which I believe Reus is.
This isn’t to say that I want Alexis to leave the club. The Chilean leaving could send out the wrong message: Arsenal are letting their best men leave – again. It could scare other players into not signing new deals or looking elsewhere. However, I’m sure this is something the club know all too well and I think it would be naïve to believe that they’re completely in the dark about what’s going on. What’s more is that I have to trust that they know what they’re doing, whether Alexis is leaving or not.
We don’t need to panic. We’ll be okay. I hope.
Stats via Transfermarkt.