Arsenal: spoilt Sanchez races boring Wenger to the exit
Sport is a pleasant way to spend your leisure time. If you’re lucky enough or foreign enough or just determined, you can make a very good living at it. If you get really good at it you can behave like a spoilt brat, row with your teammates and demand a massive hike on your already not inconsiderable wages or else you’ll sulk. You could be like Alexis Sanchez, the Arsenal striker who has expressed his determination to leave the club at the season’s end to earn much more money playing for Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus or what the British Press call ‘a Chinese club’.
Arsenal have been less than sensational this season. Sanchez has been pretty good. Along with Laurent Koscielny, he’s been a consistent source of hope for Arsenal fans seeking signs that this season they can be better than top four. Sanchez has also been petulant and, if the Mail is right, ‘furious’ at the ‘humiliation’ of being dropped for Arsenal’ match at Liverpool, which they lost 3-1. His manager, Arsene Wenger, has been ‘unimpressed’ with Sanchez’s attitude. It turns out that Sanchez, a player not good enough for top Barcelona, who shunted him down the pecking order to the Gunners, thinks he’s much better than his teammates. He is. But so what? Only when a player pulls on an England shirt is he remade in the exact quality as his teammates – they all become unspeakably average. A team wins and loses as a team. If one player thinks he’s doing you a favour, he’s got to go. That Wenger dropped Sanchez is not a sign of ‘unfolding calamity’, as the Mail’s Martin Samuel has it, it’s a sign that no player in bigger than the club. Thank you for your help, Alexis, now shut the door on the way out.
And you too, Arsene. Is he going or not? The uncertainty is affecting the club. Who is going to be the Arsenal manager next season? Is ‘Silent’ Stan Kroenke, the Arsenal owner who earned £3m last year for ‘consultancy’ work at the club, nicking a living?
The Sun says when Sanchez ‘stormed’ off the pitch at training last week, he left Wenger with ‘no option but to bench him’. That Alan Shearer tells the same Sun readers one page on, ‘You just don’t leave player like Sanchez on the bench’, points not only to why Shearer was such an un-inspirational Newcastle United manager but to how joyless and venal football is. Without its few players of global repute, the Premier League will be exposed for what it is: a marketing project based on Europe’s fourth best league. The Mirror quotes sources who say coaching Sanchez is akin to ‘managing a spilt child’. The other players ‘see him as becoming increasingly selfish’.
So instead of Sanchez at Liverpool, Wenger picked the likeable, talented and injury-ravaged Danny Welbeck. Changing things was worth a shot. That goes for you, too, Arsene. It’s time to go. But before you do how about one more turn of the old routine for old time’s sake. You know how it goes: Arsenal look good on paper, get kicked out of the Champions’ League early on, embark on run to finish in the top four and the owners wake up just long enough to bank their annual dividend.