Alexis Sanchez will improve now he knows he can leave in January, according to Martin Keown.

Arsène Wenger told Thursday’s press conference that “it’s possible” Alexis could be allowed to go in January, as he said that the Gunners were preparing for all different options.

Keown thinks this will come as a relief to Sanchez, which could help him play better. He said: “The message from Wenger to Sanchez today was: ‘Give me until January and then you can go’,” reports the Daily Star.

“To finally hear that he can leave in a matter of months is the news that he will have been craving. Now, Wenger will be expecting to see a brightness in Sanchez’s eye at training on Friday morning, not one of resignation. Sanchez is a lion who wants to play football and I do not expect him to sulk.”

I’m personally not so sure that Wenger was saying that Alexis can go in January. It sounded much more like the Gunners’ boss was considering it as one of many options, rather than telling the Chilean he’s now allowed to negotiate an exit.

If talks between the two behind the scenes do come to that conclusion, then I’d agree the decision should help to motivate the Arsenal forward, however. If he knows that he’s playing to attract the attentions of his next team then it wouldn’t be a good idea to sulk and fuss.

Alexis is 28, going on 29 in December, so anyone buying him will surely want him to perform straight away, not transition back to his best over months or longer.

There seems little hope of a new Arsenal contract at this point, so as long as he’s performing for the Gunners this year, I doubt many people will care much what Sanchez believes is happening next.