Arsenal’s 3-2 victory at Crystal Palace on Thursday night was inspired by the brilliance of Alexis Sanchez. It was not the first time in his Gunners career that the Chilean has been the match-winner.
However, this season we have seen less match-winning displays from the undoubtedly talented forward. Speculation has again gathered pace that he may be on the move in January, with Manchester City favourites to sign Sanchez in January at 5/2.
Leaving in January or the summer
One thing is now clear Alexis Sanchez is leaving Arsenal in the near future. Whether his exit will be in next month or in the summer is of yet unclear.
With six months left on his contract, Arsenal must now weigh up whether it is worth selling the Chilean star and how much they will get for him in the January window.
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger seemed quite happy to take the gamble of keeping Sanchez until the end of the season in the hope he will help the Gunners finish in the top-four.
However, competition for a top-four spot is fierce. Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are very strong positions to clinch a Champions League spot. That would leave Liverpool, Tottenham and Arsenal competing for one spot.
That is not even mentioning surprise package Burnley, who have been outstanding this season. There is certainly no guarantee the Gunners will finish in the top-four.
Finishing outside the top-four and losing Sanchez for nothing in the summer would be terrible business from Arsenal. However, the clubs hierarchy has known the situation for a long time and should have acted more decisively earlier in the saga.
An effect on the team
There have been rumours that Sanchez’s contract situation has caused disharmony in the Arsenal dressing room. Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has dismissed that notion.
However, there seemed to be signs of a rift during the Palace win, when some of the forward’s teammates seemed to snub celebrating the Chilean’s first goal of the night.
It may have been something and nothing. However, with constant speculation over Sanchez’s future, everything on the pitch will be over analysed until the forward’s future is resolved.
Alexis Sanchez has certainly not been the same player this season as other campaigns. It would not be a major surprise to see the Chilean exit before the January window closes.
However, if he does leave the Gunners need to make sure they have a replacement lined-up, so there is no repeat of the summer deadline day debacle with Thomas Lemar.
Should Arsenal cash in on Alexis Sanchez in January?