Wenger in no mood to explain Sanchez decision, backs Chilean to perform

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Eyebrows were raised before kick off last night when Alexis Sanchez was named on the bench for Arsenal’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea in the Carabao Cup.

The Chilean had been the subject of a £20m bid from Man City, despite the fact they can sign him for free in the summer. It increased speculation over his future, but afterwards Arsene Wenger denied that his decision was made with a potential transfer in mind.

Nor was the Frenchman particularly forthcoming when asked to explain why he left his joint-leading scorer out of the team.

“The team selection had nothing to do with the transfer market,” he said.

“I have not to justify every decision I make, I made over 1,000 games and I made over 1,000 teams and got it wrong every time. I have to make a decision.

“You have to accept as well when you play so many games, and Sanchez plays every game, that sometimes a breather in the middle of the season helps them a little bit.”

It was then put to him that Sanchez could start negotiating with clubs abroad, because he’s in the final 6 months of his contract, as if this was somehow a revelation to him.

“Are you aware?,” he asked. “I am not. You just gave me the rule. He doesn’t need to tell me that he speaks to anybody else, because that’s the rule. He doesn’t need to alert the club, he can do it on his own.”

He then defended his player and his character from accusations that his commitment to the club would be less now that he’s heading towards the end of his current deal.

“People don’t know Alexis well,” he said. “This is a guy who is completely focused to play football. Have you seen how he came on today, how he warmed up?

“Like a player who wants to play football. He can make a difference between what’s going on outside and what’s going on on the football pitch, with facts, not psychological theories.

“The fact is when you turn up on the pitch, you play football and you give 100 per cent. That’s what he does.

“I have no problem if he signs now [for another club] or in June. What is important for me is the next game and that you can rely on him.

“The only thing I want to say is the performance of Alexis and the commitment does not depend on the duration of his contract, it just depends on the fact that when he’s on the pitch he wants to play.

“You say basically that the commitment of a player is linked with the length of his contract. I don’t believe that at all.”

For more on last night’s game, check out today’s Arseblog: A decent draw, but injury worries mount as Wilshere limps off

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Goonerrific
Goonerrific

Fair enough on a game-by-game basis. But why not start him then?

Plus, managing 1,000 games doesn’t give you immunity from getting it wrong occasionally Arsene.

Christophe
Christophe

We went out to avoid losing so iwobi and welbeck were probably more secure options

Qwaliteee
Qwaliteee

How dare you question Almighty Wenger. He has been in the game since the book of Exodus. Just because Moses was about to lead the children of Israel to the promised land, it didn’t stop him from putting in every effort for Bulrush FC in the final months of his contract. THou shalt not question Almighty Wenger, even if thou workest for the Times.

gooner
gooner

Did you actually read the whole phrase with the 1000 games or you couldn’t wait to beat him with it?

Qwaliteee
Qwaliteee

Well, what I do know is that if Wenger was here for another 1000 games, we’d still be losing to Watford in the Premiership with a brand new set of expensive international stars making complete and utter idiots of themselves, due to the instructions they’ve been given by the coach. Yes, I do read Wenger’s comments and they fluctuate between an arrogant dictator and a feeble brow-beaten sulk with a persecution complex. And, like most of us, I’m getting just a tad bored with his rhetoric and seeing the football club that I love stagnate – season in, season out.

V is for Vic Akers
V is for Vic Akers

All he wants is to win – Arsenal are not winning, so he wants to leave. Simple as that.

IamaGoober
IamaGoober

Benching him in a semi-final against Chelsea defies the point of keeping him.

He is comfortably our most productive player in the way of goals.

He doesn’t give a fuck this season but he’s still score more then Hazard.

Qwaliteee
Qwaliteee

Wenger kept Arshavin on the bench at Wembley in the FA Cup Semi with Chelsea in 2009. Of course, we lost.

Da Boss
Da Boss

This Alexis stuff is getting a bit boring. Is he having his best season? No. Would I rather see him playing for us than against us? Yes. Do I think he will stay and sign a new contract? No.

And there it ends. Enjoy him whilst we have him.

Qwaliteee
Qwaliteee

Cheer up, mate. Someday we will have a new manager, a new regime and some shiny new world class players to idolise. Happy days.

Cliff Bastin
Cliff Bastin

$20m is the equilavent of a goldfish’s testicle to city. I say keep him and maybe he helps us win the Europa league or something.

Bai Blagoi
Bai Blagoi

I think this was always Arsene’s plan

santori
santori

Sell him.

20m is better than zero.

Come the summer we will have to work on BOTH Ozil and Alexis not to mention a host of other positions.

It is also a world cup year which will delay sales on players and mean yet again impact to start of season.

Take the 20m (maybe push it to 25m)

Replace Alexis now.

Some of the targets on hand (Mahrez, an underused Draxler) available now will be more difficult to get in the summer when there is a major reshuffle on hand an the excitement of the world cup (false quality show)

Prices will again more likely hike.

Get business for one of the top assets sorted now.

The key is in his replacement.

Sanchez has his own flaws and isn’t getting younger at 29yrs. City are not our peers anymore (for this season at least)

So who we get in to replace is more the issue.

But sell him FFS.

Bould\'s Eyeliner
Bould\'s Eyeliner

His abilities to generate revenue far greater than 20 million with victories exceed your valuation of him. 20 Million panic selling for a summer landscape, that is not yet determinable because it depends on a World Cup tournament and the final standings of all the leagues. It’s more important to build each victory solidly, and that will set us up business-wise for the summer. Keeping Sanchez is a much more closer decision to make than you think.

Bai Blagoi
Bai Blagoi

“You say basically that the commitment of a player is linked with the length of his contract. I don’t believe that at all.”

Unless the player is called Oxlade-Chamberlain

santori
santori

The Ox he could have forced him to put pen to paper when Gnabry was pushing for a more permanent role in first team. In the end with all the sentimental molly coddlying of the Ox, Wenger succeeded in losing BOTH.

The writing is one the wall for Ozil and Alexis. Particularly the latter (where the former we may still have a low percentage chance of extending)

The worse thing Wenger could do is continue to rely/delay on Alexis and wait the summer. It will not change outcome, we will lose 20m and it will coplicate rebuild further.

Sell.

He is replaceable.

there are players like Mahrez who can be bought (available) that will see us still as a step up to Leicester and players like Draxler who are underused.

Clinging on to Alexis and believing we can’t do without him is myopic. Proviso we do the business and replace with the right quality and not short change ourselves with poor choice of a little Britain youth project or someone as yet to deliver on potential, we should have no fear.

Indian+Gooner
Indian+Gooner

If we don’t have a proper replacement in mind.. selling Alexis for 20 odd million now would be an absolute joke.. when we wouldn’t sell him for 50-60 million in the summer. It would be an absolute clown show if Arsene doesn’t already have another ace up his sleeve.
We all wanted to get rid of him in the summer.

Qwaliteee
Qwaliteee

Well according to Wenger last August, it was an ‘ideal situation’…..

santori
santori

Sell him for 20m bc you don’t want to lose 20m. Every amount counts.

Wenger should have sold him in the summer but it is more palatable now considering City is the destination of choice and we are not in rivalry with them this season.

You forfeit 20m and Wenger will penny pinch further in the summer bc the prices for certain players who can replace Alexis now will only go up in the summer.

Plus there will be complications to us fixing in other positions.

Its ridiculous to say we will be worse without Alexis. Only if we don’t replace properly.

Your assumption is we only spend 20m to replace him. That is not necessarily so as we are taking in 12m with Le coq, and we have sufficient non spend in the kitty to go into the red till the summer if need be.

Considering where we are presently, we may as well rebuild now.

Stuck on repeat...
Stuck on repeat...

Anyone else pick up on the “I have no problem if he signs now [for another club] or in June. What is important for me is the next game and that you can rely on him”, or was it just me?

Voldermort
Voldermort

He relied on him so much that he benched him despite laca puking up all day before the game.
Go or stat I really couldn’t give monkey’s because until Wenger goes it doesn’t matter who we sell or buy the teams attitude and set up will be the same.

Toure+motors
Toure+motors

You are absolutely spot on. Would be great to have Alexis at arsenal next year but that’s not going to happen. The bigger change needs to be at manager level

Shank

A couple of observations from the game.
Full marks to the Chambers/Holding performance, I thought they really played well……..I am seriously delighted for them.
I know several refs who would be awarding a peno for the “perfect” Wellbeck tackle at the end. Pointing triumphantly to the spot. Fuck off.

caligunner
caligunner

Agree about our CBs. Nice way to rebuild some confidence after some bad to inconsistent performances.

ronaldo
ronaldo

it depends what mood he is in, if he performs or not

Double98
Double98

United are in with a bid of 25m or Henrikh Mkhitaryan and cash.
I would take the player 4 years of Mkhitaryan > 4 months of Sanchez
Jose hasn’t really given him a fair crack of the whip and he really is a marquee player..
Think of all the scorpion goals him and Giroud would score.

Thumb down away..
but i don’t think it strengthens united…
Mourinho won’t be happy with the “sanchez tax” and will sell him next year – or Alexis will kill him

Don Cazorleone
Don Cazorleone

> means “greater than”.

Ricardo
Ricardo

Wengers decisions are showing that old age is catching up with him. From him i see a father figure to the players not a coach. You sell coq and say Niles is a DM. Niles who have not yet played the position for us there. Ox was sold but not replaced, carzola have been injured for a long time but nothing done with the replacement. Now sanchez’s future is not settled but for sure i know he will say Nelson or adeleide will replace him. No one have challenged wenger now his powers are killing the team. The old man have done his work now he have to step down since his tactics are done we have seen everything and there is nothing left for him to display season after season we cry but no results. Today we are out of his cup the FA cup and we would leave empty handed this season.

santori
santori

I think the decision was simple. We like to keep him wrapped up for a sale but we are in no position to not be totally without his services.

It is an indictment of the depth in quality (or lack thereof) in the squad at present.

Particularly it is an indictment in the lack of technical/skill/creative players in the squad too heavily weighted on youth and Little Britain development plans.

Even with Alexis in the squad, it feels like we are at least one player short in the attacking set up in having proper balance in threat from both flanks.

The right side he bereft of creative/technical prowess and we have been leaning on Bellerin to venture further forward to make forays and a difference but at consequence behind him.

If we should sell Alexis and Walcott, both need replacement.

IMO considering where the club is at the moment (in 6th in the league and not looking particularly attractive marketing-wise), we would be wise to bring in ready made and proven talent like Draxler and Mahrez.

It will be at cost but I think the club and Wenger are also somewhat short sighted in understanding the marketing potential of these sort of signings to our commercial side regardless of football /technical ability/creativity they can add.

santori
santori

If we can get city to part with 25m for him, we should sell.

In the end he is replaceable.

Alexis is 29yrs now and whilst he adds that unpredictable element, he has also been wanton with the ball this season.

We can do better but we should invest in the right player who can deliver for the now with good upside potential.

There was talk about Christian Pavon for 27m from Boca. He is an exciting player and potentially a like-forlike replacement for Alexis.

There is also young Lemar (still being touted at an exorbitant 92m)

Pavon seems an attractive choice but he is still young and may need to adapt to league.

Draxler is slightly further on in career development even if he too will need adaptation time.

But the key difference (besides price) is that Draxler may have better potential to convert into a striker for us.

Pavon has played up top but Draxler looks to have the sort of ingredient to make a difficult to categorise RVP type player for us in near future at CF whilst covering left side as well.

He is two footed and he has the height to make some difference.

Considering Giroud may leave, Welbeck is hardly even a plan C (despite pace), it would be wise to consider the replacement of Alexis to have other utility as well other than just left side duties.

BUt it would be iMO a mistake again to rely on Nelson and youth to step up for a Walcott departure.

We will probably need someone like Mahrez at 26yrs to anchor for us on the right side and balance out our threat going forward.

At very least we will at least be bringing a known quantity in the PL.

Whether of course Wenger is willing to part money for the premium for these sort of proven players in the quantity we need is the big issue.

Past history may suggest he will fall back to old habits again and we will again be subjected to dejavu.