Following Arsenal’s stunning 2-1 win over Manchester City in the semi-final of the FA Cup on Sunday, the Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has spoken out in praise of the match-winner Alexis Sanchez and hailed his top-scoring player as ‘an animal’, insisting that the much-coveted forward will be an Arsenal player beyond the end of the season.
As quoted by the Sun, the veteran manager said: “Alexis Sanchez was like the team, he had problems to start with and became stronger and stronger. He is an animal, always ready to kill the opponent. He will never give up. He will be here next year because he has a contract with us and hopefully we will manage to extend it.”
Now while I do not want to get too excited knowing Arsenal’s history in such contract situations, I cannot help but wonder whether Wenger just said that Sanchez will remain at Arsenal even if he does not sign a new contract. It sounded like it to me. If it were to be true, any such decision would be a major statement of intent, showing that the club are indeed moving forward and keeping their best players at all costs.
But let’s be realistic here, Arsenal paid Barcelona £35 million to acquire his services and the Chilean is now understood to be valued at around £50 million. Would Arsenal really make him stay and risk losing him for free next season? The answer is most certainly a resounding ‘no’. Despite how valuable Alexis is to this Arsenal team, the board will simply not risk a financial loss of that magnitude to keep one player at the club.
But what this tells me is that the club are yet to give up on the prospect of making their star player extend his stay at the Emirates. Personally, I do not think the negotiations are centred around the monetary aspects as most media reports suggest. While money is a big factor and a hefty pay-hike is being negotiated, I think Sanchez is waiting to see where the club finish and whether some big names will be brought in ahead of next season. As of now, I am happy that Wenger is holding firm and that Alexis’ departure is not a given.