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THE BIG DEBATE: Would selling Sanchez to City end Arsenal’s title challenge?

Date Posted,July 9, 2017

The future of Arsenal superstar Alexis Sanchez remains very much up in the air – with Manchester City circling to swoop for the Chilean.

Former Barcelona forward Sanchez is yet to put pen to paper on fresh terms at the Emirates with his contract set to expire next summer.

Arsenal are unlikely to let his contract run down due to the prospect of losing their prize asset for free in 12 months’ time.

One bookmaker even suspended betting on the 28-year-old moving to the Etihad over the weekend.

We asked our reporters – if Arsenal were to sell Sanchez to Manchester City, would it end the Gunners’ title challenge before the season has even begun?

John Cross

No.

My bet is they will sell him to Man City in the third week of August.

It’s a big call because of the message that it sends but if a player wants to go, makes it clear he wants to go and you stand to lose £50m-plus, is there a decision to make?

Is it more stupid to let him go now – or for free in a year’s time?

Yes, the fall-out would be monumental. But with signing Lacazette and potentially Lemar, the argument would be it’s a stronger all-round squad.

It felt horrendous for a while when Arsenal sold Robin van Persie to Man United.

Sanchez fired Chile to the Confederations Cup final (Image: Getty)

Arsene Wenger said in the summer they sold Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri they couldn’t be considered a big club if they sold them both.

A few weeks later, they sold them both and Wenger denied ever having said it!

Arsenal’s financial landscape is different now; they don’t have to sell but they are duty-bound to make sensible decisions.

Sanchez is a brilliant player, but he can be temperamental. Would that temperament mean he acts up in his final year if Arsenal make him stay? All these things put together make me think he may go.

Andy Dunn

Yes.

Even if he stays, Arsenal’s chances remain relatively slim but selling Sanchez to City would be a white-flag moment.

Pep Guardiola already has a better squad than Arsene Wenger has.

Would that squad be improved by the arrival of Sanchez? Yes.

Would Arsenal’s squad be weakened by the departure of Sanchez? Yes.

Not selling to City is an absolute no-brainer.

If Sanchez is sold to City, not only will Arsenal’s title ambitions be emphatically undermined, Wenger’s credibility will be in tatters.

Sanchez’s departure would leave Wenger’s reputation in tatters (Image: Getty)

Darren Lewis

Yes.

The loss of quality would be obvious. As we already know, they’d be strengthening a rival team and the Gunners would be turning the atmosphere around the club (even more) toxic before the season has even begun.

All the usual elements are there from Sanchez: delaying contract talks, unrealistic wage demands, ‘my agent is handling everything, I am relaxed’ and the information shut-down from the club.

Arsenal fans have been here before with so many players around whom Arsene Wenger has defiantly talked the talk, insisting they would not join a rival club – then allowed them to join a rival club.

So there is an argument for saying that Arsenal fans will be steeling themselves for the worst anyway having had three or four months to consider the possibility.

The reality will be just as bad as they fear. Arsenal will score goals and win games without Sanchez but he would be working his magic against them for someone else.

You’d have to put any team that he joins instantly above the Gunners in terms of title probability.

David Anderson

Yes.

I don’t think Arsenal are strong enough to win the title even if they hold on to Alexis Sanchez.

Sanchez could not make the difference last season despite his goals and assists and the Gunners missed out on the top four.

I think Arsenal will struggle again to claim a Champions League place if Sanchez goes and he is their one genuine world-class player.

The bottom line is that Arsenal do not have the squad to win the title and don’t forget it is 13 years since their last Premier League success.

Barring a Leicester, I think the title will be won by one of the elite three of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Sanchez has one year remaining on his current deal (Image: Getty)

Alexandre Lacazette will improve Arsenal, but not enough to bring them the title.

Plus if Sanchez goes, Lacazette will not be able to plug the massive hole left in Arsenal’s attack.

Basically, if Sanchez stays, Arsenal have a decent chance of finishing in the top four.

But if he leaves, then it is very difficult to see how they can finish above three of their top-seven rivals.

The competition for the Champions League places will be stiffer than ever and I expect Everton to be in the mix, making Arsenal’s challenge all the more difficult.

James Nursey

No.

Alexis appears desperate to quit Arsenal and having a player hanging around who doesn’t want to be there can do more harm that good.

Arsenal are a fantastic, huge club who are still well capable of challenging for the title without him, so I would cash in on him, providing Arsene Wenger has some decent replacements lined up.

New boy Alexandre Lacazette boasts a formidable scoring record and should help Arsenal improve from last season.

With more new signings, a title challenge should be well within the Gunners means, especially as champions Chelsea are struggling to recruit new quality players.

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James Whaling

No.

Ultimately, the answer lies with how Arsenal replace Sanchez should he be sold.

If they were selling him to a team from another of Europe’s top leagues, their title aspirations wouldn’t be harmed half as much as they would be if they sold him to City.

But, if the money is re-invested wisely, it doesn’t have to be the end of the Gunners’ title bid.

As each day passes, the prospect of Sanchez penning a new deal at the Emirates become more remote, and Arsenal should cash in now with plenty of the transfer window remaining, rather than wait until the final couple of weeks.

The arrival of Alexandre Lacazette is an impressive start, and signals that Arsene Wenger may be going away from his reluctance to spend big to land the calibre of players needed for a title tilt.

If Arsenal sell Sanchez relatively soon and splash the cash on quality to replace him adequately – they can still challenge for top spot.

Aaron Flanagan

Yes.

Arsenal need to make wholesale changes to their squad if they are going to challenge for the Premier League title. Losing their greatest asset is the worst piece of summer business they can do.

The arrival of Alexandre Lacazette will add goals to the Arsenal team, but he will not replace the tenaciousness and creativity that Sanchez brings to the fold.

If Arsenal lose Sanchez, Arsene Wenger has to find a world class replacement for him before the end of the transfer window.

Will Guardiola clinch to signing of Sanchez? (Image: Action Images via Reuters)

Should they manage to wangle an £80million fee for him – which would be minor miracle in itself given the fact he only has one year on his contract left – then every penny has to be invested into finding a suitable replacement who can produce the same results.

Unfortunately, I can’t see that happening.

Jake Polden

Yes.

I’m still not convinced this Arsenal side will be a serious title contender next season, and losing Alexis Sanchez won’t strengthen my confidence.

Alexandre Lacazette is a great addition to Arsene Wenger’s side, but he’s no replacement for the Chilean.

Sanchez’s 24 Premier League goals spoke volumes last season, as did his ability to single handedly lead the team.

However, I feel losing him will have a greater impact off the pitch.

Wenger ensured fans Arsenal are no longer a selling club – or rather Man City’s feeder team – and that they are in a financially secure position.

So you can expect to see more than just planes and banners flying over Wembley in their Community Shield game against Chelsea and club morale at an all-time low if he does indeed move up north.

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