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Praveen’s latest “The Arsenal Annals” column.
Rumours linking Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez with a move away from Emirates Stadium had begun emanating from the British media the moment the club announced his arrival from Barcelona for £32 million.
However, with recent reports suggesting that Chinese Super League clubs are poised to offer him a £400,000-per-week contract, fans have become nervous, seemingly.
Sanchez’s ever-growing prominence
Directly involved in 90 goals in 115 appearances, the Chilean international has averaged a goal or an assist every 105 minutes for the London club.
Since replacing Olivier Giroud as the club’s first choice centre-forward, however, his numbers have improved drastically as he has scored a goal or created one every 74 minutes this season.
Sanchez’s ascendance coincides with Arsenal’s upturn in terms of results as Arsene Wenger managed to guide his side to a top finish in the Champions League group stages, piping French juggernauts Paris Saint-Germain in the process.
Additionally, sitting just three points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, they command a good chance of ending their 13-year title drought.
Although the upturn can be attributed to Arsenal’s new look system, the former Barcelona striker remains the indispensable part of it thanks to his industry and desire.
Despite Alan Shearer’s remarks, he proceeds to produce world-class performances consistently.
Non-availability of world-class strikers
Sanchez’s contract runs only until June 2018.
With the Arsenal manager rumoured to keep him at least until his contract runs out, Arsenal may not scour the transfer market for world-class strikers.
However, such footballers will likely not be up for grabs even if they intend to bring one down.
Though a profilic striker may become available out of the blue as Mesut Ozil or Julian Draxler did, they know they can never bank on such uncertainty as it is unlikely that the newcomer proceeds to have as much impact as the club’s top-scorer of the season does.
In addition, the 13-time top-flight champions do not have a Plan B at their disposal that is as effective as their current ‘strikerless’ system. Olivier Giroud, Lucas Perez and Theo Walcott have proved prolific enough to understudy the Copa America winner.
However, given the fact that Arsenal’s nascent success model has been made feasible with all 11 players on the pitch performing their role to perfection, losing the pivotal part of the system will ostensibly prove costly.
Additionally, the other strikers fall short of the quality required to carry the team in Sanchez’s absence in the long term.
New home for Atom and Humber unlikely
Arsenal announced a few transfer windows ago that they would not pay any player, irrespective of his or her significance, north of £200,000 per week.
A few months and one television deal later, they shall be able to shell out a £250,000-a-week contract for the deserving.
The player himself will likely prefer playing his best game against tough opponents week in, week out, by the looks of things.
As Wenger’s team play a brand of football curated to capitalize on Sanchez’s strengths, he ought to find finding a new home for Atom and Humber unexciting.
Arsenal’s performance may take a hit in the final few weeks in the event of the contract talks protracting.
Accordingly, they shall work on wrapping up a deal for their talisman before the European juggernauts and Chinese moneybags come sniffing.
Written by Praveen Paramasivam
Follow Praveen on Twitter @49Praveen
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