It’s not been long since the summer transfer window closed and there are always a lot of eyes on what business English Premier League clubs do.
This summer, Arsenal found themselves under increasing scrutiny from fans and pundits alike. They had endured a poor season last time out, the pressure had mounted on Wenger, but instead of walking away from his post, he signed a new two year deal.
So with this, people were eager to see how he would reshape the squad. It’s usually the case that the main focus by people is on the players who arrive, not those who depart. But in Arsenal’s case, both were just as important.
Alexis Sanchez had expressed a desire to leave the club and it was going to be interesting to see how this situation developed over the summer. He’s been Arsenal’s best player for a number of seasons and would be hard to replace.
With it being common knowledge that Sanchez wanted out, in many peoples’ eyes it was only a matter of time until he left the club. Why would you want to keep an unhappy player in your ranks? He was also into the final year of his contract at the Emirates.
The signs suggested that a move away was inevitable, with sports betting operators like Unibet, listing the player as odds-on favourite to leave the North London club.
It was all well and good Arsene Wenger claiming he will still be an Arsenal player after the window closed, but he had said the same about many others, who then went on to leave soon after.
When deadline day approached, Sanchez was still an Arsenal player, but somebody who was on the verge of leaving the club was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The England International had rejected Chelsea in favour of a move to Liverpool and the deal was almost done.
The Ox had been a bit part player, more of a utility man than anything for the Gunners over recent times, and with him also being in the final year of his contract, you can see why he was allowed to leave for £35 million.
In Sanchez’s case, things were different. Anything good that happened for Arsenal would usually involve him. He was a talismanic figure and not somebody you could see the club simply just selling.
Arsenal soon found out they had a fight on their hands on transfer deadline day with Manchester City making bids for the want-away Chilean, but the Gunners were holding firm. Or where they?
Arsenal had in fact made a play to sign Monaco’s Thomas Lemar. The Frenchman predominantly plays wide left, and with the Gunners already recruiting Alexandre Lacazette, his arrival would surely have allowed Sanchez to join Manchester City.
The bid for the 21-year-old, believed to be in the region of £90m, was accepted by the Ligue 1 club, but the player himself rejected the move to Arsenal. So, you could say the fact that Arsenal failed to sign Lemar is the reason why they still have Alexis Sanchez on their books.
It wasn’t down to Wenger wanting to keep the player or because the club wanted to take a hard line approach. If they had got Thomas Lemar from Monaco, Sanchez would have joined City.