I truly believe that if Arsenal sell Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City this summer, it’ll put us back to square one.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote a column on how keeping Alexis at Arsenal could be Arsene Wenger’s most important bit of business this summer and this is almost a ‘part 2’ to that argument.
While I appreciate that adding a world class striker etc etc was probably technically more important, keeping existing stars is also crucial, not just in terms of morale among the fans but belief among the players. If the blokes they look up to don’t even want to be there, why should they?
This week, you only had to look at the replies to a tweet from Arsenal’s official Twitter account reminding fans that on that day three years ago, the club signed the Chilean from Barcelona, to know just how anxious Gooners feel right now about the whole situation.
It’s as if the uncertainty from the end of last season and whether Wenger was staying or going has just carried on into the break.
At first it was Bayern Munich, who were reportedly ‘priced out’ of the running to sign Alexis due to his massive wage demands.
They’ve just signed Real Madrid forward, James Rodriguez, on a two-year loan with an option to buy, so it doesn’t look like they’ll be reviving their interest in Alexis any time soon.
Then, it was Manchester City. And these rumours were a lot scarier.
If Alexis signed for Bayern or one of his other suitors like Paris Saint-Germain, at least he would be out of sight, out of mind.
We wouldn’t have to see him play every week and probably be amazing 24/7. It would suck, sure, but it would only rate around a 6/10 on the s**t-o-metre.
At City, we’d have to see his smiley face every week, see him probably score against us and patronisingly pretend not to be happy about it. We’d have to see him hugging Pep at some stage and talking about why he wanted to leave Arsenal for our rivals so badly.
Mostly, it would just remind me of Robin van Persie in 2012. Forcing a move to Arsenal’s rivals despite Wenger being the manager who took a chance on him when he was barely out of his teens and turned him into the unreal striker he had become during that last season in north London.
Although it’s slightly different, since Robin spent EIGHT years at Arsenal and Alexis has only been with the club three, it still conjures those same emotions.
Not the same emotions that Cesc Fabregas conjured when he moved to Barcelona; I have no sense of attachment for Alexis. He’s not been at the club long enough and, to be honest, for most of last season and pretty much all of this summer, I thought he was a bit of a tool.
No, I don’t fear losing him because I want him to stay when he obviously can’t wait to do a runner. If Bayern or PSG were to return, I’d have pretty much no problem with him joining them. I mean, of course I’d have a bit of a problem from the point of view that he is genuinely rather good at football and he’s no longer at my club, but that’s about it.
It’s the thought of directly strengthening a title rival AGAIN that makes me almost feel sick to my stomach.
That’s why I’m nervous. Because what does that say? Arsenal sign Alexandre Lacazette for a club record but then sell arguably their best player to their rival? Just the thought of it makes me livid and I’m generally pretty positive.
If Arsenal allow Alexis to sign for City this summer, it’ll put the club right back to square one.
All the good things the club have done behind the scenes and steps they’ve taken in strengthening the first team will be forgotten because once again Arsenal will be a selling club. It’ll bring the morale right back to where it was before the team pulled a mad one and won the FA Cup. When things got really bad and no one had any faith in the manager, players, or club as a whole.
As Wenger has said time and time again, we MUST keep all our best players…
Or at least not gift-wrap them for our rivals.