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Should Arsenal sell Manchester City target Alexis Sanchez?

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Alexis Sanchez (C)

Alexis Sanchez’ future at Arsenal has been uncertain right from the start of the summer transfer window.

While the Chilean is still a key player for the Gunners, Arsenal must decide whether to cash in on star forward now, or risk losing him on a free.

Should he be sold?

Let us know your thoughts as our two writers discuss the topic.

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MATTHEW JONES, SAYS YES

Philippe Coutinho has a tiny tattoo of an anchor etched onto his neck just below his left ear. This is apt as whether Liverpool enjoy success or endure another season of frustration is intrinsically linked to the diminutive Brazilian remaining tethered to Anfield.

Similarly, the future of Alexis Sanchez at Emirates Stadium, though required, would not be ruinous to Arsenal’s Premier League title chances should he depart.

Statistics surprisingly show that since Sanchez left Barcelona for London three summers ago, Arsenal’s record without their talisman is actually better – winning 74 per cent of games without him as opposed to just 58 per cent with.

His sale might not be sought by Arsene Wenger or the Arsenal fans but its sanction would be eminently more sensible than that of Liverpool’s own South American schemer Coutinho – who so intricately links the Reds’ attacks.

As fine a player as Sanchez is, he is a forward who finishes off moves rather than sparks them. The brilliant Brazilian is far more irreplaceable.

Arsenal

Sanchez was a huge player for Arsenal last season but the Gunners proved in victory against Leicester they have sufficient firepower to cover his loss.

Four goals from four different players against the Foxes is encouraging and, even though their porous backline remains a concern, they’ll be entertaining going forward this season.

They had 15 different scorers in 2016/17 – only Watford, Hull, Leicester, Everton and Manchester City had more personnel find the net.

Alexandre Lacazette scored and generally looked lively in his first competitive start, which should give Wenger and the fans cause for optimism that the Frenchman will go some way to replacing the 24 Premier League goals bagged by Sanchez last term should they cash in.

Selling him paves the way for Monaco forward Thomas Lemar to come in and help compatriot Lacazette – with Wenger confident he, Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott, Granit Xhaka, Alex Iwobi, Laurent Koscielny, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sead Kolasinac could all help carry the weighty goalscoring burden.

MATT MONAGHAN, SAYS NO

The vacant look on Alexis Sanchez’s face as he watched Arsenal’s first-half collapse against Leicester City from an executive box spoke volumes.

No matter his familiarity with the sinking feeling the Gunners regularly serve up, this latest disappointment resonated with the injured Chile superstar.

This, of course, was before the rousing fightback which crowned another instalment of the Emirates Stadium soap opera. But for anyone associated with the home side, such happy endings will be far fewer if Sanchez’s absence becomes permanent.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez

For Arsene Wenger’s men to have any pretension of making a first genuine Premier League title challenge in more than a decade, their only world-class player must be retained.

Even if this means an asset worth north of £50 million (Dh237.5m) is allowed to leave for nothing next summer. Sanchez is the figure who adds stardust to a talented squad.

Exciting new addition Alexandre Lacazette can still only aspire to the achievements of a forward who scored 24 times and assisted 10 more in the 2016/17 top flight. Arsenal only scored on 77 occasions, meaning Sanchez accounted for a whopping 31.2 per cent.

No team can hope to succeed if such a contribution is taken away. Even more so if the asset heads to a direct rival. Links to Manchester City and a reunion with Pep Guardiola refuse to go away. His arrival would make the Blues almost unstoppable.

When Manchester United sold Cristiano Ronaldo, the fact he went abroad to Real Madrid helped continue the most-successful spell in the club’s history rather than stop it in its tracks.

Another aspect is what are the chances of Arsenal being able to buy a replacement of similar calibre if they sell Sanchez? Especially if they remain outside the Champions League?

As manager Arsene Wenger has repeatedly, and optimistically stated, hopes of a contract renewal remain as long as Sanchez stays. Surely the retention of that dream is a price worth paying even a small fortune for?

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Wayne Rooney: Back where I belong at Everton and meaning business

Wayne Rooney 12/08/2017
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The opening day of a new football season is always special, but this one is particularly significant for me.

After moving back to Everton this summer, the chance to pull on the Blue shirt again and play at Goodison Park in the Premier League, in front of my family and friends, really excites me, which is why our opening game against Stoke cannot come soon enough.

I have always been a fan of Everton Football Club so when the opportunity arose to come back to my boyhood club this summer, I jumped at it and the last few weeks have certainly lived up to my expectations.

The Everton fans have been brilliant since the news of my return was announced. The reception they gave me was fantastic.

Hopefully, now I can start to repay them with good performances and goals as we all strive to take the club to the next level.

After a busy summer in the transfer market – manager Ronald Koeman has made seven new signings so far and there could be more to follow before the transfer window closes – our fans are excited about the season ahead, and rightly so. In terms of the Premier League, our first aim must be to improve on last season, when we finished seventh in the final table.

Ronald Koeman

Ronald Koeman

We also want to go as far as we can in the cup competitions and we’ve made a good start on that front, beating the Slovakian team MFK Ruzomberok over two legs to reach the Europa League play-offs later this month.

For me personally, to win a trophy at the club I’ve grown up supporting would be great. The last time we won something was in 1995, so to bring some silverware back to Goodison would be right up there.

We know it’s going to be challenging competing on four fronts but the manager has made some great signings, bringing in the likes of Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Jordan Pickford and Sandro Ramirez, meaning the competition to make the starting XI is going to be intense.

As players, we all know we will need to play well to keep our place in the team. Our preparations for the new season have gone well – we are unbeaten in six matches – and I, personally, feel good going into the opening weekend.

Pre-season is always a difficult time for a footballer. Because you are training hard before and after the games, you never really feel match sharp. But that is precisely why we play friendlies and you could see all the hard work starting to pay off in training this week, where there was an extra sharpness and quality in our sessions.

Now we need to show that today. We know we’re in for a tough start.

Stoke are never an easy team to play against but if we can begin the season with a win, it will give the squad that extra bit of confidence and belief going into a tough run of fixtures against Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United.

And, of course, an early return to Old Trafford, where I spent 13 fantastic years playing in great teams and winning trophies in front of fans who never ever stopped supporting me, will be a strange feeling.

But I hope they understand that playing for Everton was the only way I would be back there playing for an opposing Premier League team. We must all concentrate on getting a good league run going and achieving some consistency in the Premier League.

If we can do that then we’ll see where we are at Christmas time and reassess our goals.

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