It is no secret that Alexis Sanchez has been Arsenal’s standout player this season. And even though the Gunners have had a poor season and are looking increasingly likely to miss out on the Champions League, the Chile international has managed to score 28 goals and has 15 assists to his name in all competitions. Sanchez has also proven to be astoundingly versatile and has been highly effective as both a central forward, as well as a left winger.
Arsenal, of course, wants to hold on to their star player, but numerous high-profile teams across Europe are believed to be keen on signing the 28-year-old. With Sanchez’s contract with the Gunners expiring at the end of next season, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, and Bayern Munich are reportedly monitoring his situation. Amid all this speculation, the Chilean still refuses to commit his future to the North London club but continues to defend the Arsenal boss, Arsene Wenger.
Alexis Sanchez insists that the fan protests against the long-serving Arsenal manager are “very bad” and disrespectful. Wenger, who has been at the club since 1996, has grown unpopular with a large portion of the fanbase but is understood to be keen on extending his stay at Arsenal, regardless. The Frenchman’s contract expires at the end of this season, and while he promised to make his decision known soon, he is yet to make an announcement regarding his future. Sanchez, however, believes that Arsenal fans owe Wenger for his tremendous contribution to the club.
“For me, [fan demonstrations are] very bad. [Wenger] is the manager who gave a stadium to the club, won cups, and has been 21 years in the job. He is the creator of the stadium, the players, and style of the club,” said Sanchez in an interview with the Daily Mirror.
Under Wenger, the Gunners were unbeaten for the entirety of the 2003/2004 season and received a golden league trophy for their unprecedented achievement. The 67-year-old also oversaw the Gunners’ move from Highbury Stadium to Emirates Stadium. Nonetheless, Wenger has been a shadow of his former self during the second half of his reign. After lifting the Premier League title in 2004, Arsenal went on a trophy drought that lasted nine years.
Over the last few years, however, Arsenal has managed to return to winning ways and lifted two consecutive FA Cups in 2014 and 2015 respectively. With the acquisition of renowned star players, such as Mesut Özil and Sanchez, Wenger looked set to bring the North London club back to the glory days.
As such, this season has been particularly painful and disappointing for the Arsenal fans, considering how much money Wenger spent on the likes of Granit Xhaka, Shkodran Mustafi, and Lucas Perez. Moreover, the prospect of losing their standout player, Sanchez, to a direct Premier League rival could prove to be even more gut-wrenching.
Although Arsenal has reportedly offered him a deal worth £250,000-a-week, Sanchez has yet to put pen to paper. Money doesn’t seem to be the only issue, apparently, as the 28-year-old has repeatedly stated his desire to win major trophies, including the Premier League and the Champions League. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Sanchez remained coy over his future at the club and insisted that negotiations would continue after the season was over.
“I cannot tell you now [about my future]. We have to wait until the end of the season. As I always say, it doesn’t depend on me. It depends on the club. What they like, what they don’t like. I always said the same: I try to do my best, to support the team, to score goals, to win victories. And we will see at the end. If they like that I carry on, or they don’t. Whatever they want, we will see it at the end of the tournament.”
While Sanchez’s refusal to commit his future to Arsenal may be worrying to a majority of the club’s fanbase, many believe that the Chilean has already made his intentions clear to them during Arsenal’s battering of Stoke City on Saturday, May 13. After scoring a magnificent goal, Sanchez ran towards the stands to celebrate with the fans and in the process, thumped the Arsenal badge on his shirt while repeatedly pointing to the ground.
Consequently, many Arsenal fans, including Troopz of ArsenalFan TV, have interpreted his goal celebration as a sign that Sanchez is keen on staying at the Emirates. It still remains to be seen, however, whether the Gunners can really keep hold of their star player.
[Featured Image by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images]