Arsene Wenger’s admission that allowing Alexis Sanchez to see out the final year of his contract could cost Arsenal as much as £140 million should send a shudder through the boardroom at the Emirates Stadium.
Sanchez was linked with a transfer to Manchester City for much of the summer, with a deadline day move falling through due to Arsenal’s failure to sign Monaco star Thomas Lemar.
Wenger told beIN Sports that those factors could cost the club a staggering amount next summer.
“You take a Sanchez into the final year of his contract, you sacrifice £60-£70m income and at the end of the season you will have to buy somebody for that amount of money,” he said.
“It has a huge price so at some stage you have to make a decision, you have to sacrifice one or two.”
Quite how this situation has been allowed to develop is anyone’s guess.
Sanchez has never looked like he will agree a new contract at Arsenal. Knowing that to be the case, why did Wenger wait until the final day of the transfer window before trying to sort things out?
A possible £50 million fee was floated during the summer. Surely it made sense to snap City’s hands off for a player entering the final year of his contract?
Wenger then has the rest of the transfer window to bring in a replacement.
Even if Lemar had ended up costing £100 million, that’s still only a £50 million hit on the finances as opposed to £140 million.
When you factor in the fact that Lemar is seven years younger than Sanchez with the best years of his career still to come, Wenger’s decision-making processes look seriously flawed.
Ultimately the buck stops with the manager and unless he delivers Premier League success this season that £140 million deficit could be Wenger’s parting gift to Arsenal.