Is this the beginning of the end? Can we finally shelve all those discussions regarding Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal, his contract and Man City?
Maybe, but probably not, although the English press do their best to drawn a line under the Sanchez-Arsenal saga on Wednesday.
Several of the leading UK papers run with the same story: Arsene Wenger has put his foot down to confirm that Sanchez will be staying with the Gunners in 2017-18.
The source of the story is Wenger, who made the following statements in Asia:
The decision has been made and we will stick to that. The decision is not to sell.
I don’t give too much importance to things that are translated, you know. The whole interview that I got didn’t really mean that.
The main focus for us is to concentrate on the Premier League and it is for me today is more important than the Champions League.
We rested sometimes players in the Group stages of the Champions League for the Premier League so that’s become the biggest importance for us.
For the rest, we played 20 years in the Champions League, that’s 17 years before Sanchez arrived and three years with him so he can get us back in there.
Starting with the Star, they position Wenger as the man in charge, as readers are told “Sanchez stays: Wenger blocks star striker’s escape”.
The Guardian take a different line, noting that Arsenal’s decision to retain Alexis is based on finances.
On that line of reasoning it’s reported that Sanchez commands a 50 million pound transfer fee, while gaining entry back into the Champions League would net Arsenal 40 million pounds.
Moreover, if Alexis were to leave, Arsenal would need to replace him, but that’s not easy. Readers are told, “Arsenal’s stance is categoric and it is reinforced by the knowledge that it would be fiendishly difficult to sign a replacement for Sánchez – even for £50m.”
The Times gaze into the future, noting that while Arsenal look set to hold onto Sanchez it “would be a gamble as there is no prospect of him signing a new deal”. That means the South American could leave for free next summer.