Arsenal: Chinese interest in Sanchez; German replacement targeted; Gunners top Champions League group
Arsenal managed to defy the odds and finish top of their Champions League group thanks to PSG slipping up at home against Ludogorets. The Gunners themselves recorded a 4-1 win away to FC Basel, which was a great way to finish their Champions League campaign for 2016. They wouldn’t have expected for that result to take them top of the table, but PSG struggled at home and their slip up has provided Arsenal with a superb opportunity to go even further into the competition. In recent years, Arsene Wenger’s side have been given tricky ties in the last 16 due to their failure to win their group, but they have managed to do that this season and will be hoping for a much easier tie.
Lucas Perez was a shock starter on Tuesday night, but he managed to score a hat-trick in Switzerland, which will provide him with a lot of confidence heading into a busy period of fixtures for the Gunners. Alex Iwobi scored the other goal for Arsenal and it was a performance that will have pleased the supporters. They will now be waiting to see who they are drawn against on Friday and hoping that they avoid Bayern Munich in particular.
The Mirror report some concerning news about the future of Alexis Sanchez as they state that the Chilean is being offered mega-money to move to China and this is causing problems for Arsenal as they try to extend his contract. There are a number of Chinese clubs interested in the forward and they could be prepared to offer wages up to £400,000 a-week to Sanchez. This is a figure that Arsenal can’t come anywhere near to matching and there are fears that they won’t be able to agree an extension with Sanchez.
This would come as a huge blow to the club as they are beginning to challenge at the very top of the game once more and to sustain that, they need to keep hold of their best players. Sanchez has been responsible for a lot of what has been good about Arsenal this season and he would be difficult to replace. It would also send out a poor message to the other players at the club as Arsenal will look like a side that can’t keep their best players. This could lead to others asking for a move away.
If Sanchez does depart the club in the near future, it will be imperative that the club bring in a suitable replacement. The Express report that the club are already identifying possible replacements and the leading candidate is Marco Reus. Arsenal are long term admirers of the Borussia Dortmund star and they won’t be put off by his injury history. The German is primarily a left winger, but he would be capable of being converted to a striker like has been the case with Sanchez. The club would need a big-name player if they lost Sanchez and Marco Reus certainly qualifies as that.
The doubts would exist around his injury record, as he has missed a lot of football over the past few years. Also it would take a significant fee to convince Dortmund to let go of one of their star players and Arsenal have been reluctant to part with huge sums of money in years gone by. On his day, Reus is one of the best players in the world, but his body often lets him down. It would be a huge risk to bring the German in if Sanchez does leave, but it is encouraging for Arsenal fans that the club will be looking at this calibre of player if they need to replace their top scorer.
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