Alexis Sanchez is head-to-head with Arsene Wenger this season, in challenging for the title of ‘who can cause a bigger situation at Arsenal’. For both the player and manager, the dispute surrounds their respective futures, because whilst Arsenal fans want Wenger gone, they also can’t bare to imagine Alexis Sanchez leaving.
It’s created quite a bit of media interest, of which rumours have spiralled out of control. Some news outlets will tell you that Alexis is leaving, whilst others will suggest that he is still happy at the club. I think the general assumption is that Alexis isn’t wholeheartedly committed to Arsenal and is quite likely to leave, unless there are some drastic changes at the club this summer. I think it would be fair to suggest that given the pleas for Sanchez to stay, the Chilean forward currently holds Arsenal by the scruff of the neck. Alexis will be aware of the fact that right now he’s probably in a position to demand whatever he wants knowing that Arsenal are either going to be out of pocket, or lose a world class player.
However Arsene Wenger reminded Alexis at the weekend that there is no player bigger than the club at the end of the day. We saw similar situations when it came to Fabregas and RVP, especially the latter who was also entering his final contracted year; and now the time seemingly strikes again with Alexis Sanchez. Wenger made the call to drop Alexis from the starting line-up against Liverpool, amongst rumours that suggested he had yet another row with his teammates. The first ‘bust-up’ came against Bayern, although it was denied by Wenger. The boss therefore made the decision to drop Alexis from the line-up to show his authority and that Alexis isn’t in the position to do as he likes.
It did kind of backfire for Wenger, who ended up relying on Sanchez to get part of the job done against Liverpool; as the forward came on at half time and changed the spirit of the game. When Alexis came on, he gave Arsenal that spark of energy and provided creativity with his assist. It showed the difference between the players we have at the club, in comparison with Alexis’ skill, ability and determination. Therefore although Wenger made the right call in showing his authority in dropping a player who has reportedly stepped out of line, could it come back to bite Arsenal in the sense that it just evidenced quite how much we need Alexis to put up any kind of fight.