Arsene Wenger kidding no one in Alexis Sanchez saga

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 12 January 2018, 16:00

ARSENAL fans proudly used to hold a banner aloft which proclaimed ‘Arsene Knows’.

As if their wise manager had everything under control even when the club looked to be in total chaos.

It’s almost at those levels now with the ongoing saga of the Alexis Sanchez transfer. The Chilean striker stubbornly refusing to sign that new deal which Wenger is dangling tantalisingly in front of him.

It’s got to the point where you actually feel a bit sorry for Wenger. Twenty-odd years in the job, the ultimate guv’nor at Arsenal. The once imperious and uber-intelligent coach who revolutionised our national game.

On Wednesday evening Wenger was trying to kid the world when he insisted Sanchez doesn’t care about contracts, he doesn’t give a hoot that there are just six months to go before his best player can walk out of the club for free.

Wenger meekly claimed Sanchez cares only about the next game. Of course he does? And he’s hoping he doesn’t get injured in it because that might put the skids under the most lucrative move of his life to Manchester City.

The more Wenger tries to defend his superstar, the older and more gullible he comes across.

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Sanchez is often described as ‘unsettled’ but he’s anything but. He settled on a move out of Arsenal a long time ago and now all he’s doing is biding his time, kicking around and embarrassing the man who brought him to England more and more with every passing week.

It’s reminiscent of some years ago when Manchester United employed a decent, young English striker called Alan Smith. He is now 37 and at Notts County.

He was bought from a high-flying Leeds United team in 2004 and was going to be the next Alan Shearer.

Instead he faded out of the limelight and suffered a series of unfortunate injuries. All the while his contract ticked away and every so often he would plead in the media for some news from boss Alex Ferguson to clarify his future.

At least half a dozen times he wanted to know what was going on from Fergie - and the answer was total silence. That in itself should have told Smith the story.

It is the same with Wenger, who comically suggested he would wait until June to see if Sanchez will sign a new deal or leave. Clearly, the player has made up his mind to go. It may even be this month during the January transfer window.

Wenger is undermining himself and his status as the grandfather of modern English football by clinging onto the notion that Sanchez may yet turn 180 quicker than he is doing on the pitch at the moment and re-sign.

The silence is deafening from the South American.

All this time Arsenal are in limbo.

Wenger was supposed to have bought Sanchez’s replacement in Alexandre Lacazette but Gunners fans are less than impressed with the Frenchman’s contribution on an outlay of £45 million.

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All the while, Wenger tries to kid everyone that there is still a faint chance Sanchez might remain, when we all know where he is going.

It’s come to this for the man who came to Arsenal in 1996 as an unknown, who brought with him the first serious wave of foreign players, who taught their English counterparts how to up their game and their preparation for matches - how to be more professional.

Wenger the man who took a team unbeaten throughout an entire season - the only one to ever do so in the Premier League; Wenger the manager who seriously rattled Ferguson’s cage at Manchester United and has helped produce some of the most watchable sides for the neutrals.

We all know that deep down Wenger knows and Alexis Sanchez certainly knows what’s really going on here. It’s just a complete farce, like one of those sit coms where the audience knows how it’s all going to land up.

Wenger needs to lance the boil of Sanchez. He needs to come out and be strong in public - either sell him now and make some money or stop trying to sell us all the old baloney that he could yet stay.

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