The Alexis Sanchez saga is set to be an epic, likely to roll on for the entire summer as he tries to get himself the best deal possible.
Sanchez wants to win trophies, but he also realises he is perhaps set to sign the last big contract of his career, so money and duration is equally as important. Here are a few of my thoughts.
If Arsenal get a big offer – we are talking £50m+ – from abroad, we would sell. There is no point keeping a player who does not want to stay at the club, especially someone as openly emotional as Alexis Sanchez. Even if Arsene Wenger does not want to sell hi, his hand could be forced by the board – £50m is a lot of money to turn away.
The two problems are:
- Will a side be willing to offer Arsenal £50m?
- Will a side offer Sanchez the terms he wants?
On the first point, in the current market, £50m would be a steal for one of the best attacking talents in the world. On paper (yes, I have been watching a lot of Love Island) it is a no brainer.
But then Sanchez is 29 in December. His game relies on him being dynamic. He relies a lot on pace and acceleration. As he gets older, these attributes diminish quickly.
Players who rely a lot on explosiveness deteriorate quickly – Freddie Ljungberg the perfect example.
Ljungberg was a limited football, but was lightening over 10 metres. This made him so dangerous. But as soon as he lost this lightening spring, he was done as a football.
Sanchez has more to his game than Ljungberg, but will still deteriorate when his pace and explosiveness go’s. Think Thierry Henry or Fernando Torres.
Whilst Sanchez is an extremely skilful player, he does not have attributes to play Number 10 once his legs go. He does not have the first touch, vision or passing to play in the most congested position on the field. You only have to see how often he gives the ball away – more than any other player in the Premier League – to realise he would struggle in behind a striker. He does not have the technique of a Dennis Bergkamp or Mesut Ozil. Even the likes of Juan Mata and Jack Wilshere would be better suited to the tight spaces behind a striker than Alexis Sanchez.
So for £50m, a side would be buying an ageing, explosively talented who, at any point, could fall off the cliff. It is why the likes of Bayern Munich are not interested. He is not as technically good as Arjen Robben or Frank Ribeiry. It is doubtful if he will be able to adjust his game sufficiently to still be an asset once his legs go.
Of course, over the next 4 years, his legs might not go. And anyway, the likes of Manchester City can easily afford to sign a player for £50, just to get 2 years out of him at the top level. Look at how much they have wasted over the years. The £100s of millions they have written off on players mot good enough.
Reports are (and they are just reports) that Manchester City are willing to pay Alexis Sanchez £300k and offer him a 3 year deal. This would protect Manchester City against the potential drop off that Sanchez might suffer as he passes 30.
Sanchez is apparently holding demanding a 4 year deal, remembering that it is his last
Alongside a £50m transfer fee, Manchester City’s 3 year deal for Alexis Sanchez would cost them £96,800,000 in total – £50m in transfer fees, £46,800,000 in wages. This would amount to 8.2% of Manchester City’s yearly turnover across the next 3 years.
Were Manchester City to bow down to Alexis Sanchez’s 4 year demand, his contract would be worth £62,400,000. A total of £112,400,000 across a 4 year period. Affordable to Manchester City, yes, but a big chunk of cash that they would have little to no chance of recouping in a sale.
Arsenal meanwhile have an ace up their sleeve when it comes to contract offers.
Without having to pay a transfer fee, Arsenal could potentially give Alexis Sanchez the 4 year deal he is demanding.
We Arsenal to offer Sanchez a 4 year deal at £250,000 a week, the total payment to Sanchez would be £52m. That is £5.2m more than Sanchez would earn over a 3 year deal playing for Manchester City.
This is where Sanchez has to think about the long term.
Over the first 3 years of the deal, he would earn more at Manchester City. But once that contract comes to an end, Sanchez would be 32 years old. Would he be able to secure a deal elsewhere on £100,000 a week? And what if his legs go completely? He certainly would not earn that returning to Chile. So he might be better off signing a deal at a lower wage with Arsenal which last longer, and over the period of his contract, earns him more.
It would also give Arsenal an opportunity to move Sanchez on after 2 (or 3) years if he does begin to deteriorate. In 2 years time, he would still be able to make a big money move to China. Another last contract and Arsenal would be able to get a bit of cash in.
Were Arsenal to offer Sanchez a 4 year deal at £250k a week, the total cost to the club (excluding tax) would be £52m. Arsenal would look to spend that much on a transfer fee alone to replace Sanchez. Add wages on top, replacing Sanchez would cost Arsenal in the region of £80-90m, and we would be getting in a player who is probably not as good, and probably more of an unknown.
If Sanchez turns down a decent offer for Arsenal, he knows where the door is. Arsenal are capable of offering Sanchez a decent contract, a decent length, and trophies (3 FA Cups in 4 years remember – City have won 1 League Cup in 3 years).
I also think that Sanchez staying or going has no bearing on Thomas Lemar joining.
Thomas Lemar is just 21 years old. You can easily rotate him, Sanchez and Ozil in a two behind the striker, keeping all 3 happy, whilst giving all 3 a rest when needed. And if we return to 3 behind a striker, he would start every single time.
It would also allow Lemar to develop at his own pace, and hide in the shadows behind Ozil and Sanchez in the short term, before taking over from one (or both) of them in a couple of years time when, still lat just 23 year old, he would potentially be on of the best players in the world.
And unlike Sanchez, Lemar has the technique to play Number 10.
So my final thought of the day. Offer Sanchez 4 years at £250k. Sign Lemar. If Sanchez rejects the deal, with have his replacement in place. If he accepts it, we have squad depth and could then flog Sanchez in 2/3 years knowing we have a player ready to step up and be world class.