South African Arsenal Fans

Alexis Sanchez, Baby

Isaac Lundall Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Our Fantasy Premier League money league code is 77502-28170. The overall winner of our league will walk away with between ZAR 180 and ZAR 370. Join now. Alexis Sanchez has a price of 12 in the game, making him the most expensive midfielder, 1.5 pricier than Eden Hazard, and 2 more expensive that Kevin De Bruyne. This is testament to his excellent performances last season. Yet there is much uncertainty around his future at the Arsenal, with his reluctance to sign a new contract, having expressed a desire to play in the Champions League in which the Arsenal will not participate this season.

The apparent reason for Alexis to think of leaving the club should underline the value of Arsene Wenger's perennial Champions' League qualification. The manager was often ridiculed for metaphorically calling qualification a trophy during the club's trophy drought between 2006 and 2013. The value of qualification is drawn into stark relief though. Champions' League status is a major attraction for the world's best players who want to play in the competition against the world's best players. This underlines the value of Arsene Wenger as the manager at the Arsenal.

The Alexis transfer saga seems familiar. The renewal of the contracts of the club's best players seems to be left too late, often until there's only a year or less remaining on the existing contract. This situation encourages rival clubs to step in and buy their contracts, and if a player is motivated to join a rival club, the Arsenal finds itself pressured to sell the player to recoup a transfer fee, where the alternative is a free transfer at the end of the player's contract, representing a financial loss for the club, especially given the tens of millions of pounds that are usually spent on the transfer of the best players. Alexis is not the only player approaching the final year of his contract. Mesut Oezil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are in a similar positions. The club would do well to finalise contract renewals earlier so as to avoid this sort of kerfuffle.

The Alexis contract brouhaha is a distraction from what we fans should care about, the football. The China leg of the club's pre-season tour starts today with the lads in action at 1:20pm (South African time) against the club's Moses team, Bayern Munich, before taking on Chelsea on Saturday at 1:40pm (South African time). With respect to our Australian opponents, Bayern and Chelsea represent a step up in quality. We can look forward to seeing our two new signings in action as well as how our younger players do against two of the best clubs in Europe. The young players have performed well so far, particularly Joseph Willock and Reiss Nelson, who showed quality and composure in attacking areas. Hopefully we will see more of Edward Nketiah an Donyell Malen against Bayern and Chelsea.

© 2017, Isaac Lundall