Poor old Alexis Sanchez, he never gets any rest. Perhaps he doesn’t want any, but he might like it if he tried. It’s just that he’s never allowed.
After a long season at Barcelona in 2013-14 he went off to the World Cup in Brazil, and in the middle of all the football he met with Arsene Wenger and decided that North London was the place for him to be. He turned down a move to Liverpool because of Phil Thompson, and in his first season he helped us win the FA Cup with a goal in the final against Aston Villa.
He did his international duties during that season too, and at the end it of played in the Copa America. Chile went all the way to the final, and won the tournament thanks to his Panenka penalty in the shoot-out with Argentina.
He came back to Arsenal for 2015-16, and despite a lengthy injury absence still made 37 appearances for us, scoring 17 goals, and then was part of another Copa America squad that went all the way to the final, again beating Argentina in a penalty shoot-out.
Last season he played 51 games for us, a load of internationals for Chile again, and this summer, instead of putting his feet up and taking relaxing strolls down the beach with Atom and Humber, he’s off at another summer tournament. This time it’s the relentlessly unimportant Confederations Cup, where his nation will be up against Russia, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, Mexico, Australia and Cameroon for football’s least prestigious trophy.
Forget the Zenith Data Systems Cup, the Johnstone’s Paint Shield or The Abrakebabra Lamb Doner Chalice, the Confederations Cup outdoes them all when it comes to irrelevance and disinterest. It’s a FIFA money-spinning racket that has, over the years, become less interesting and important than solving the mystery of why people throw pairs of shoes over electricity wires. How do they get them there? Do they use ladders?
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter. Much like the Confederations Cup. Alexis is at it though, as is Shkodran Mustafi for Germany, but the focus is on the Chilean whose contract remains an issue this summer. In a revolutionary move, he has left it to his agent to discuss his future with the club this summer. Speaking about contract talks, he said:
That is what my representative is looking at. He knows and will sit with the club and work out what is best for me. I am now focused on the
Abrakebabra Lamb Doner ChaliceConfederations cup.
Some reports this morning say that Bayern Munich are ready with a £40m bid and a wage packet of £350,000 per week, certainly a tempting figure for a man whose next contract is likely to be the last big one of his career (bar a move somewhere silly as he slows down in his early-mid 30s). £40m for Arsenal doesn’t sound that tempting to me though, when you consider what an adequate replacement might cost.
The early signs are that the transfer market is going to be bonkers this summer. Already we’re in the €100m+ realms for an 18 year old with just one season under his belt, and Man City have paid £40m for a 23 year old goalkeeper who has yet to play an international game, so what would that money even get us if we decided to sell for that price?
Of course the challenge for the club is to try and convince Sanchez to stay and sign a new deal. I remain somewhat doubtful we can do that, but we have to give it our best shot. Reports that he was going to sign imminently for Man City have been played down by Marca, who say that Arsenal are in no mood to negotiate with anyone, let alone another Premier League outfit.
I’m sure that the club understand that selling Alexis Sanchez to a rival would be a) profoundly stupid, b) counter-productive and c) a catalyst for chaos, to coin a phrase. There would be absolutely no justifying it, or defending it in any way, and they know that it would produce a reaction that would hugely enrich sellers of torches and pitchforks in North London.
From what I understand Sanchez’s agent is not the easiest in the world to deal with, and much depends on what the stance of the player is. If he’s actively seeking a move and not really interested in signing a new deal with us, it doesn’t really matter how persuasive Arsene, Ivan and Dick – our negotiating team with a name like a failed 70s folk trio – happen to be.
If there’s a chance though, we have to be prepared to push the boat out to keep him. A big comfy lucrative boat with dog chambers and everything. Let’s see what happens.
Meanwhile, after reports in the not at all predatory Catalan press that Hector Bellerin had ‘agreed terms’ with Barcelona, the man himself Tweeted:
Don't believe everything you read…
— Héctor Bellerín (@HectorBellerin) June 8, 2017
Six year contract, happy to sign it just a few months ago, summer antics from Spain etc etc. We’ve been here before. It’s a shame so many fans are so quick to turn on a player despite scant evidence that he’s done anything wrong, but that’s football for you.
Right, that’s that. No Arsecast today because it’s off-season and all that, so I’ll be back tomorrow with a round-up of whatever’s going on. For some extra reading, Tim Stillman on strikers.
Have a good one.