Arsene Wenger continues to be cagey about the future of Alexis Sanchez as the club enters a crucial few weeks.
Wenger is probably sick of answering questions about Alexis Sanchez’s future by this point, but the longer it remains unresolved, the more uncertainty it will continue to breed.
Amid fresh reports of a move to Manchester City, or even Manchester United, Wenger was asked again about the Chilean at his pre-Bournemouth press conference.
This time, he was cagey rather than dismissive.
“Nothing is really concrete at the moment. It is not that I don’t want to inform you, it is that I don’t want to give you the wrong information,” he said.
This sideshow is something we all expected.
When the club put its foot down and kept Alexis beyond the summer, it did so knowing all the risks that would follow.
The line was that footballing reasons prevailed over financial ones.
The problem now is that there are less than three weeks left to get any sort of money for the Chilean.
The club’s logic behind keeping Alexis remains sensible. They’re not going to sell until they get a good quality replacement in.
Wenger confirms Sanchez will not leave if #afc cannot sign a replacement. Situation remains the same as the summer in that regard.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) January 12, 2018
Yet, they’re under even more pressure to deliver that replacement now.
When Arsenal kept him for the season, they did so knowing that the January transfer window would be a safety net.
But if he stays at the club beyond January, that’ll be it. Alexis will walk away for free.
From his perspective, the club has had months to find a suitable replacement and lay the groundwork for a transfer.
He’s been [mostly] professional throughout all of this, but with the way Arsenal’s season is going, it wouldn’t be surprising if he grew impatient.
Wenger is counting on that same professionalism from Alexis to help Arsenal’s season.
It’s risky, because if we have nothing to play for come April, we’ll have a player with no motivation to play well.
We’d also have no replacement to bed in.
If we go by Wenger’s comments and the club’s past actions, Arsenal will hold firm until the final day of the transfer window.
Six more months of Alexis in the team could be worth more than £30m.
Yet, it all comes down to that replacement.
If a club has any sense, it will get one in. At which point, it will be time to let go and move on.