Another transfer window is upon us and with Philippe ‘The Man of Many Sore Backs’ Coutinho having secured his lucrative move to Barcelona, attention has shifted to another of the Premier League’s want-away stars.
Alexis Sanchez finds himself in a situation entirely of Arsene Wenger’s own calamitous making. The Chilean forward – who, if you remember, was widely reported to have agreed a move to Manchester City over the summer – has six months remaining on his contract but is seeking an imminent move away from North London.
Quite why you would let your star player run down his contract to within six months of its expiry date is a matter we’ll leave firmly in the hands of the #WengerOut clan.
Instead, Sanchez appears to have a number of destinations to choose from and with Wenger declaring in a recent press conference that “anything can happen” during the transfer window, it seems the 29-year-old forward’s departure is set to be sooner rather than later.
So, who are the main contenders?
Despite announcing they have ended their pursuit of Sanchez, City were for a long time leading the race to secure his signature. If the press is to be believed, the Etihad is indeed Sanchez’s preferred destination – although at this late stage anywhere on the f*cking planet looks pretty appealing right now.
Allegedly, Sanchez’s wage demands and the fee necessitated by Arsenal are the reasons for Pep’s hesitation, with the master tactician deciding that a total package in excess of £100 million is probably slightly too dear for a bloke approaching the grand age of 30.
Who’d have thought, it eh? The club who spunked £110 million on the likes of Jo, Wilfried Bony, Stevan Jovetic and Eliquim Mangala suddenly baulking at a price tag. Seemingly gone are the days when Man City would offer £30 million up front for a footballer who’d had one decent 45 minutes in his entire career. Shame.
It’s not unlike Jose Mourinho to engage in a bit of shithousery, so sweeping in under City’s nose to slap a higher bid on Arsenal’s table smacks entirely of the Special One’s work.
United are now believed to be the frontrunners, with outlets reporting a deal to be in various stages of completion, with estimates ranging from 75% right through to the football pundit’s favourite 110%, but this is reliant somewhat on Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s willingness to move in the other direction as a makeweight.
Hmm, six more months of being mercilessly bullied by your manager while a bloke who dances better than he plays football (only marginally) occupies your place in the starting lineup, or a fresh start earning mega wages and muddling around in fourth place at Arsenal?
Either way, with or without the mercurial Armenian, it seems Man United may well be the leading destination for Sanchez. United have Champions League pedigree, are desperate to accommodate some attacking flair and would be a great place for Sanchez to see out the final prime years of his career.
Who knows, it could be Robin van Persie all over again.
Rumours have begun to surface in the last 48 hours that Chelsea are willing to put together an enticing package for Sanchez, although at this stage it still remains unclear as to whether Antonio Conte actually wants the player or just hates Mourinho that much, he’d literally steal any target off him.
With Chelsea already in possession of the world’s second-best Belgian (do not even try to argue otherwise!), Pedro, Willian and the recently-acquired Ross Barkley in attack, it seems highly unlikely they’d have room for Sanchez.
Yet were it to happen, Sanchez would find himself in a much more competitive side than he finds himself in now, and doesn’t have to even move out of his house to achieve it. You know, because his dogs would bloody hate that. They love London.
Whenever a world class player is mooted to be leaving his club, someone always throws the hat of the French giants into the ring. Not because they’d be a suitable fit or anything, but because they have a bottomless well of money that they happily throw at every half-decent player.
Do they need Sanchez? Cavani, Mbappe, Neymar, Draxler and Di Maria would suggest not, but then again these are the fellas who took a flying shit on the world transfer record when they signed Neymar from Barcelona. Just because they could. If they want him, they’ll buy him. It’s as simple as.
But would it be a viable move for Sanchez? The combination of stiff competition for places and a questionable domestic league would suggest otherwise, but then it all depends on exactly how much money Sanchez wants to milk in the twilight of his career.
Whatever happens come the end of January, you can almost guarantee Sanchez won’t be at Arsenal. Especially since he seems to have caught that lower back twinge that plagued Coutinho’s final few months at Liverpool.
Modern footballers, eh?