After being dropped by Arsène Wenger for the crucial league fixture against Liverpool, the future of Alexis Sanchez was thrown further into chaos.
Out of contract in 2018, there will be a long list of clubs waiting to tempt the 28-year-old with a summer move, but according to The Independent and ESPN, Paris Saint-Germain are top of the list of attracted admirers.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 5, 2017
This has not been a good week for fans of both clubs. They faced very different tasks in the UEFA Champions League and with different levels of collapse, they both failed.
At the Emirates, Arsenal had to overturn a 5-1 first-leg defeat to beat Bayern Munich, despite an early Theo Walcott striker, bad decisions and poor defending cost the London side and Sanchez was seen trying to hide sniggers from the bench.
“Alexis Sanchez has 15 months on his contract so the decision will depend completely on Arsenal football club,” Arsène Wenger told the press after the reported training ground bust-up. “[Our relationship is] Honest, and normal. Like with every single player.”
The Chilean arrived at the Emirates to win trophies and regardless of their position of power in Ligue 1, domestic trophies is not what PSG want to ultimately win.
PSG need a reaction and improvement
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A move to the French champions may seem like a jump from the frying pan and into the fire, but the Parisians, with the money they have spent and under the guidance of Nasser Al-Khelaifi, are a team with great ambition, perhaps more than Wenger and the current board have for several years.
“After winning the first leg 4-0, it's very difficult to accept losing the second 6-1, but we don't have a choice,” the club's owner admitted after the painful defeat. “After our first-leg win, the aim of reaching the quarter-finals was legitimate, but we know in football that that doesn't mean anything. We tried to do our best. We didn't manage to qualify, but we'll continue.
Everyone at the Parc des Princes believed that they were about to take the next step in the search for Champions League success, even with three minutes to go against Barcelona on Wednesday, it seemed likely.
Disaster struck and now, with the club hurting, they need a special player to join the attack, someone that is adaptable and can improve them in different ways.
“I haven't spoken to the players yet,” he continued. “It's not the right time. Everyone is annoyed, it's normal. We're going to calm ourselves down.”
Would Alexis Sanchez suit PSG?
Ummm, yes, yes he would.
As an out-and-out striker, the 28-year-old can’t hold a torch to the likes of Edinson Cavani.
Sanchez scores fewer goals per 90 minutes, lands fewer shots on target and converts 12 per cent less of his chances.
However, the former Barcelona man adds much more that goals, some of it can’t be truly quantified in numbers.
PSG could certainly have done with a player that brings Sanchez’ fire and determination to any game. His drive and enthusiasm would have brought some much-needed leadership to the 6-1 defeat.
Over the last three seasons, Sanchez has contributed 2.46 key passes per 90 minutes, showing excellent consistency, that’s more than Angel di Maria, Lucas Moura and Julian Draxler this term.
Sanchez Adaptability Key
On the topic of Sanchez… If you’ve got players at your football club who don’t want to be there then get them out of the door. pic.twitter.com/IhjRCW86Fr
— ARSENAL (@tomgunner14) March 9, 2017
Regardless of how Unai Emery – expecting he will still be in charge – sets out his team, there would be a place for Sanchez to add to the team.
On the wing of either the 4-2-3-1, or his more used 4-3-3 this season, Sanchez could play wide and assist Cavani, or to give the Uruguayan a break, he could play through the middle like he has for Arsenal this season.
With the players they already have at the club, it’s either a No.9 like Cavani, or a winger like Lucas and Di Maria, or a playmaker in the mould of Javier Pastore or Hatem Ben Arfa. What they don’t have is a mixture of the two. Someone that bridges the gap between an out-and-out striker and a player that can play between the lines, ask questions of defences from another angle.
Too often, PSG are one-dimensional and easy to work out once you have their system nailed down.
Beating a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 can be easy if you know the players and what they will bring, if you have a player like Sanchez, gives different options and makes either formation a whole new look.
Giving PSG a new dimension
Sanchez would likely thrive with the pressure off to be the main source of your team’s goals and inspiration, but it is up in the air regarding who would still be at the Parisian club this summer.
Lucas and Di Maria failed to turn up on the grandest stage of them all. Julian Draxler didn’t cover himself in glory either, but as a new signing, he will be given some slack and expectations for next term will certainly have risen.
As a club, is PSG want to move on to the next level, the need players of Sanchez’ calibre to make the jump that they crave.
The Chilean fits that mould perfectly and if PSG can match Arsenal’s valuation and meet the player's demands, then he would be the ideal signing this summer.