The key to Paris Saint-Germain achieving their dream of winning the UEFA Champions League may depend on whether they can lure Alexis Sanchez to the Parc des Princes this summer.
The Arsenal winger is approaching the final year of his contract and has yet to sign a contract extension with the North London club and the delay may be due to PSG’s director of football. It’s been reported that Patrick Kluivert has been working behind the scenes to convince Sanchez to hold off on signing a new contract until the summer. The timing will benefit PSG since Arsenal will be encouraged to sell him for a “discounted” fee instead of losing him on a free transfer in 2018.
PSG director of football Patrick Kluivert reportedly working on summer bids for Arsenal's Alexis Sanchez & Borussia Dortmund's Julian Weigl. https://t.co/M8kvmKxrrX
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) January 6, 2017
So far this season, Sanchez has been on fire. He’s scored 15 goals, including one against PSG in the Champions League, and recorded 10 assists in all competitions this season. In fact, since arriving at the Emirates Stadium in 2014, Sanchez has scored 10 or more goals every season. But that’s not what impresses me the most or why I think Sanchez is the missing link for Unai Emery’s squad.
PSG have all the talent in the world but even when they win, and especially when they lose, they seem to lack energy and a determination to win no matter the opponent. Sanchez would help with both categories. In fact, the 28-year-old’s energy is what Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger first noticed when he watched him play:
He was one of these players where his energy and the intensity of his energy level hits you straight in the face. It is strange because he catches your eye with his energy and level of commitment he puts into everything he does and that is what remained with me. – Arsène Wenger, 90min.com
Does that sound like a player PSG could use? Someone who will run nonstop whether he’s playing against Dijon FCO or FC Barcelona? The answer is absolutely and with Edinson Cavani leading the front line, the two South Americans, along with new signing Julian Draxler, would form one of the most lethal attacking trios in all of Europe.
The only question left to ask then is how likely is this transfer? It’s fun to pick out players around Europe and demand PSG sign them but there’s more to it than that. I’ve already discussed that his contract status benefits PSG and it’s been reported that the club is willing to pay more than the £200,000-per-week offered by Arsenal. So money isn’t an issue. Barring a shocking second-half collapse, Paris will be able to offer Champions League football so that isn’t an issue either (as it might be for Manchester United if they try to sign him and don’t finish in the top four of the Premier League). On the surface, the reigning French champions should be an attractive destination for Sanchez but why would he want to leave?
Wenger is in the waning stages of his managerial career at Arsenal and another trophy-less season could force him to step down. Would Sanchez want to stick around for a new manager and what will surely be a season in transition? At 28-years-old, I doubt he would want to waste another year in his prime.
There’s also been speculation that Sanchez is growing frustrated with Arsenal’s capitulation against teams they should beat easily. Most recently, the Chilean threw his gloves off in disgust at the end of Arsenal’s match against AFC Bournemouth where they went down early and had to fight back to secure the 3-3 draw.
— Alex Truica (@AlexTruica) January 3, 2017
If I were to rate the transfer of Sanchez to PSG on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being no chance and 10 being a done deal, I would give it a 6. Signing Draxler (a player just entering his prime) will certainly help to persuade Sanchez (and other top players) to come to the French capital. There’s also the allure to become the “face” of PSG now that Zlatan Ibrahimovic has departed.
Of course, all this depends on how PSG finish the season. If they get obliterated by Barcelona in the Champions League and fail to win Ligue 1, it’s hard to imagine Sanchez, Antoine Griezmann, Neymar, or any player of that quality coming to the Parc. Emery needs to rally the troops and show progress as his first season comes to a close in order to set up a successful summer transfer window.