Can Arsenal Persuade Alexis To Stay?
Apparent body language and the suggestive tone, if reading between the lines, of Alexis Sanchez's recent admission he knows where he will play next season would seem to imply the decision made will take him away from Arsenal - probably at Manchester City.
However, can the impending arrival of Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon change the mindset of Alexis? Former Arsenal full back Nigel Winterburn certainly hopes so.
Winterburn, who also said he was hopeful Olivier Giroud would stay, the Frenchman insists he will, knows the attacking threat Arsenal could pose this season may be crucial to the chances of success.
He told Sky Sports: 'I think it was obvious to Arsenal fans and to Arsene Wenger that one of those areas to strengthen is the centre forward position. I am hoping Giroud will stay, I still feel he is valuable to the team as well. Arsenal know they need quality to help them challenge for the title.'
Assuming Lacazette does conclude his proposed transfer, Winterburn feels that will be great news for Arsenal but wouldn't be much of a boost if Alexis were to then leave the Emirates Stadium shortly after.
His, perhaps idealistic view, is the French international will be signed and that can persuade Alexis to stick it out for another year, at least.
Winterburn said: 'I hope the Lacazette deal leaves [Sanchez] at the club. He can play on the left, up front or in the hole. Arsenal cannot afford to bring in Lacazette then two weeks later Sanchez leaves. I am hoping Wenger can persuade him to stay for another season, see what happens with the team then sign a new contract.'
Arsene Wenger has continually said he felt Arsenal's squad was good enough to challenge for the Premier League. Of course, he wouldn't say anything less. But we have seen this clearly hasn't been the case as the Gunners are lacking in areas.
If Wenger can retain Alexis, the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain too, Winterburn feels the addition of Lacazette could leave Arsenal a couple of signings, at least, from serious title contenders next season.
'I am hoping they will back that up with a couple more major signings," he said. "If you look at the end of last season Wenger said he thought the team was strong enough to challenge for the title. Over the last two seasons that hasn't proven to be the case. There becomes a point when you have to start mixing it up, maybe one or two players will move on and you bring in fresh faces and set new challenges.'