Plenty of rumors about player transfers are coming out every day, but for the potential of Arsenal forward Alexis Sanchez to Manchester City, there seems to be something there.
Ah, transfer season. It’s like British winters, it seems to come earlier and more forcefully by the year. For good reason too – when clubs like Chelsea have sat at the top of the table for months, and clubs like United outside the top four as long, then there’s really not an awful lot to talk about. Not a lot that’s particularly dramatic at least.
So if you’re the sports editor at The Sun or The Star well, nothing like a hastily throw-together and tenuously argued article about how Neymar is off to Old Trafford in the summer. One other name that seems to come up quite frequently is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.
Now if you’re thinking I’m about to start a tenuously argued article about how Sanchez is off to the Etihad, you’re not too far off the mark, except it seems to me to be exceedingly possible. The Chilean’s links to Manchester City are grounded, he made his debut under Pep Guardiola at Barcelona and has on numerous occasions spoken fondly of his first manager and of a desire to play with him again.
For his part, Pep has continually gone out of his way to praise Sanchez as being among the best forwards in the game, even in interviews that have had no connection to Sanchez and/or Arsenal.
Beyond that though, there’s some tangible evidence that Alexis would swap his red shirt for blue. Cooperativa, a Chilean media company, reporter Maks Cardenas reported earlier in the month that if the decision was Sanchez’s he would go to City.
Cardenas has been a reliable source for transfers of Chilean players in Europe in the past, including first bringing up Claudio Bravo to City. His leak, as it were, was picked up by several other news agencies and as a result Guardiola’s side sit on Sky Bet 2/1 (at the time of writing) to acquire Sanchez’s services in the summer, much higher than any other club including Arsenal.
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The question of course is, why would Arsenal sell to a divisional rival, or even at all? Sanchez of course, has only one year left on his contract at The Emirates, which would mean that in only one season he could walk for free. Arsene Wenger is then realistically left with only one window of opportunity to cash in on the 28-year-old and will likely seek to maximise profits to go towards a suitable, likely younger replacement.
It’s hard to imagine Wenger would have the ability to put his foot down and not sell, or try to force the player abroad against his will, when the potential for upwards of £50 million would be at stake.
Though that seems a ludicrous amount, in today’s market Sanchez is more than worth it, particularly for a club like City. Leaving aside the likelihood that Pep would be able to get the best out of Alexis, what we’ve seen already would be sufficient itself. He has consistently proven himself to be among the best players in the country and this season is no different, with a remarkable 19 goals and 9 assists in the Premier League alone.
The only doubt about whether he would work out would be competition. City are already fairly stacked and, although Sanchez can play anywhere in the front three, it would be difficult to pick out a weak link in their attack that needs work. Yet, at the same time, their attack does need work and that much is obvious by seeing how many clear-cut chances have been wasted and how many subsequent points have been dropped this year.
It’s hard to say for sure, but if Manchester City are in on Sanchez, as it seems they certainly are, then you’d have to imagine Sergio Aguero will be looking to move to pastures greener. Perhaps he already is. If that’s the case, things look a little different for City up front, even with Gabriel Jesus returning to fitness. A lack of experience and an even more alarming dearth of depth could potentially present Pep with more of the same headaches he’s had this season, and it’s unlikely the club will put him in that position again.
Either which way, a major overhaul is very likely at the Etihad this summer and all signs point to Sanchez being a part of it. Whether that turns out to be the case is anyone’s guess, it’s only April after all, but I wouldn’t bet against at least this early piece of transfer speculation being wrong.