To be or not to be? That is the question on everybody’s lips. Unfortunately, the more one listens to the Sanchez transfer stories the more lost one becomes. As they say, only time will tell–except we just can’t wait for slow time to come do all the telling! Which is exactly why we’ve decided to sniff around some more for the scent. Where is Alexis, really?
There are so many fables in the air. Every team wants Sanchez, including, of course, Arsenal. To retain Sanchez, who is said to be on a salary of £140,000 per week, Arsenal are reported to have offered him £280,000/wk, which he has reportedly rejected. This is fable number one. There are only five players in Europe earning up to or above that. Ronaldo, Messi, Bale, Pogba and Neymar. Two of them are from Real Madrid, two from Barcelona and one from Manchester United. These are the three richest football clubs in the world, splashing out on five world mega-stars, great players without doubt but also football personalities who on their own merit are able to bring great commercial rewards to their respective teams. At this moment, the stage is being set for the birth of another mega-star, Kylian Mbappe. Who can’t guess his destination.
The quite reliable Total-Sportek (my source for all wages quoted here) published earlier this year that Arsenal offered Ozil and Sanchez new wages of £180,000 and £165,000 per week respectively. Let’s assume that negotiations have pushed both up to £200,000/wk. How does this figure compare with top wages in Europe?
The highest paid player in Italy (according to the Total-Sportek figures) is Gonzalo Hugain of Juventus who earns €7.7M per annum (£130,000/wk). Clearly, Italian teams cannot meet the reported wage demands of Ozil or Sanchez.
In Germany, the mighty Bayern Munich have Lahm, Ribery, Robben and Lewandowski topping the wage chart. The four are all on a salary of €160,000/wk (£140,000/wk). Don’t expect them to go crashing their salary structure for anybody when they are already tops in–and on–the field. All the noise about Sanchez to Bayern has been coming from his fellow Chilean Arturo Vidal. Incidentally, Sanchez on his current deal earns more than Vidal who is on €150,000/wk (£130,000).
In France, there is PSG, a club running on petro-dollars. They can shoot from the hip but their highest paid player, Thiago Silva on €200,000/wk (£185,000), earns less than the suspected demands of Ozil and Sanchez. Given their deep pockets, the rumour that they are interested in Sanchez should not be taken lightly. It is, however, good to keep it in mind that Angel de Maria is on £150,000/wk as their second highest paid player followed by Cavani and Verratti at £110,000/wk each–the same as Ramsey and Walcott. Remember, oil prices have taken a tumble and the Arab Spring has not fully blown over.
Spain. Real Madrid and Barcelona. Between the two there is nowhere on earth for any player to go–except maybe China. Luckily for us the rivalry between the two clubs is so intense–and so based on pride–that each dare not touch any ‘cast off’ of the other. If Barcelona recruits Ozil the club president would fall. Same with Sanchez to Real. It has nothing to do with how good or poor the players are, it’s just plain pride. So, it should be of little interest to us that, apart from the mega-stars mentioned above, they have Suarez on £240,000, Modric on £180,000, Iniesta on £165,000 and Ramos on £160,000 per week as their other top earners. Modric’s salary equals what Ozil has been offered earlier this year. All others (in both teams) earn below that figure (£180,000/wk) which Ozil has long since rejected. These others include such top players as Iniesta, Pique, Busquets, Ramos, Benzema, and Kroos. Suddenly, Arsenal is not doing too poorly with its scaling of salaries.
We end our journey at the English Premier League where there is the mighty Manchester United and the sugar daddy duo of Manchester City and Chelsea. There are 9 players here on £200,000/wk or above. Pogba on £290,000, Rooney £250,000, Toure £230,000, Aguero £230,000, Ibrahimovic £220,000, David Silva £210,000, De Gea £200,000, Schweinsteiger £200,000 and Hazard £200,000. (ManCity has since scaled down some of their top salaries, but included lucrative bonus clauses to help meet FFP rules.) Any of these three clubs can outbid Arsenal, salary wise.
So far, there are no rumours that Ozil is wanted by any of them, but it’s been hinted that the three are all angling for Sanchez. I have my doubts.
Mourinho wants his players to conform to his script. Sanchez on the other hand must express himself. There is no meeting ground for the two and Mourinho cannot need what he does not want. Manchester United for Sanchez is out. This, remember, is merely as I see it.
Pep Guardiola has one phobia in football: the opponent gaining possession of the ball. Sanchez’ high-risk, high-dividend style is so high in turnovers that, despite all the noise about City wanting him, I can’t see Guardiola going for it. Pep, who is similar to Mourinho in this aspect, prefers players who can fit or be molded into his very structured style. Even Fabregas failed to adapt in the Pep-esque Barcelona and was sold. I don’t expect City to go for Sanchez. To me, these stories are fables.
Chelsea can afford Sanchez even though their highest paid player is Hazard at £200,000/wk. Surprised? Roman Abramovich, we must remember, is not a bottomless pit. He is already owed more than £1 billion by Chelsea. So, it is not difficult to imagine that the account books have begun to interest him. Nonetheless, his club have a tactical reason to be interested in Sanchez. Conte is a coach who is able to adapt a team to suit a player’s profile. Watch out for Conte.
China. Sanchez can overtake Carlos Tevez as the world’s best paid footballer if he goes to China. But Sanchez is the ultimate showman. The spectators that are most dear to his heart are there in the seaside town of Tocopilla, Chile and he would vanish from their sight, lost in the great expanse of China, if he dares go there. Tocopilla have said no to China.
Finally, Arsenal. Wenger values when players have come to understand themselves. He wants to keep Sanchez, but at the same time he would not want to rip the salary structure to pieces. Arsenal’s Board of Directors are ever casting envious glances in the direction of Bayern and Wenger knows that. Obviously, Wenger would not want Sanchez to walk away in a year’s time on a free. He also knows that if Sanchez is held back from leaving (while believing better options exist for him) he will be a pain in the neck on and off the field in his final season. If this is the case, Wenger would be right to cash in and bring in a worthy replacement. Sanchez is a fabulous player but he is replaceable. Please check out the Russian prodigy Aleksandr Golovin.
So, where are we? I would say we’ve made a little progress. We can now see that there is a good chance that we are Alexis’ best option. And, aren’t we now a little bit less paranoid about losing him?
Meanwhile, we wait for old man time to do the final telling.
by Pony Eye