Pundits and ex-players are once again pretending to be mind-readers, with Alan Smith coming to the conclusion that Alexis Sanchez is ‘determined to leave’ Arsenal.

Former Gunner, Alan Smith, has compared Alexis to a big shadow hanging over Arsenal, which is just silly – we already know that’s Mathieu Debuchy.

“Alexis Sanchez is a big shadow hanging over the Emirates,” the ex-striker told talkSPORT [via Daily Star].

“Arsene Wenger says he is determined not to sell him, but he seems determined to leave.

“If you’ve got an unhappy player, a bit like Coutinho at Liverpool, that’s not a great situation to have in the dressing room.

“For me, it’s a no-brainer: you’ve got to let him go, get the money and move on.

“What the owners would think about keeping a player you could get £60m for and then letting him go for nothing in 12 months’ time, I don’t know.

“It happens time and time again at Arsenal.”

Smith doesn’t actually know for sure that the Chilean is unhappy. He’s not spoken to him and the 28-year-old hasn’t been in training, since he was involved in the Confederations Cup.

This means, that Smith is simply guessing what he believes Alexis should be feeling considering the media speculation surrounding his future in north London, and passing it as fact.

However, let’s look at the facts here. Sure, Alexis has a year left on his contract and he says Champions League football is important to him, which Arsenal don’t have. But Arsene Wenger has insisted that whether he signs an extension or not, he’s staying. In fact, the manager has said that more than once.

We also know that Alexis is a professional who wants to play football. While Martin Keown has revealed that the forward is a little difficult to manage, this is because Alexis never wants to stop or rest. He loves to play football.

This suggests that if he does stay at Arsenal, as Wenger says he will, he’ll simply get on with it.

As former Gunners Matt Upson told Radio5, if Arsenal really are standing by their decision to keep Alexis at the club for another season, this suggests that they know something we don’t – i.e. the Chilean isn’t opposed to staying.

“I think, [by] moving on from him before it’s high and dry, there must still be something there,” the ex-centre-back said.

“Arsene Wenger and the club are looking at it and thinking, ‘we can keep him at the club’.

“Nothing’s done yet.

“But, you just feel, the moment there is some action, and someone makes a hard push for him, it’s going to be very difficult for Arsenal to hold on to him.”

Of course, Alexis could be sulking. He could refuse to train and try to force a way out of the club. Arsenal could find it hard to hold onto him this summer. He might very well be deeply, deeply unhappy. But we simply don’t know and probably won’t for a while yet.