Paul Merson: I’d Be Shocked if Alexis Sanchez Isn’t a Chelsea Player Next Year

Tom Roddy

Paul Merson believes Alexis Sanchez moving from Arsenal to London rival Chelsea is inevitable as there is an “arrogance” at the Emirates Stadium.

Sanchez has been Arsenal’s best player this season, scoring 18 goals in 29 league games, but the Chilean forward has cut a frustrated figure.

On-field tantrums and delayed negotiations have suggested Sanchez, the former Barcelona player, may not be wearing Arsenal red next season.

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Merson is sure he’ll be lured to Stamford Bridge. “I would be shocked if Sanchez wasn’t playing for Chelsea next season,” the Sky Sports pundit told Newsweek. “And people go, ‘Oh, don’t be silly,’ but don’t forget if he was going to sign, he probably would have done it at the start of the year.

Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez at Emirates Stadium, London, April 5. Paul Merson believes Sanchez will be at Chelsea next season. Reuters / Eddie Keogh

“I don’t see him signing and why people say he’ll never go to Chelsea, Arsenal don’t work like that. They’re not going to let him see his contract out: They want £50 million quid. They sold [Robin] Van Persie to Man United [in 2012] and they went on and won the league. They don’t care about that.”

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Uncertainty about the future has been a theme at the Emirates Stadium this season. Arsène Wenger, who joined the club in 1996 and has been the most successful manager Arsenal has had, is yet to reveal whether he will extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season.

Arsenal sits fifth in the Premier League, four points off Manchester City in the Champions League positions, with nine games remaining of the season. Some fans feel the club has stagnated under Wenger and want the Frenchman gone, and Merson agrees it is time to say goodbye.

“The only way of getting round it is if he brings in [former Arsenal players] Thierry Henry or Patrick Vieira to work under him for a year, with the assurance that they take over,” Merson says. “I think the fans could accept and swallow that.”

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But Merson, 49, believes Wenger is “deluded” over the potential of his team. “I don’t think he sees that they’re a million miles away; that’s his problem. He’s a bit deluded at the moment. If you sat down with him, I think he’d say, ‘Oh yeah, we can win it [the Premier League] next season’. They’ve got no chance. No chance.”

And Merson believes Wenger and the club have grown an arrogance over the past few seasons, in talk of transfers and the pursuit of then-Liverpool striker Luis Sanchez.

“When [Real Madrid striker Karim] Benzema had a chance to come in and he says, ‘What do I need Benzema for, I’ve got [Olivier] Giroud?’ Don’t say that, just put in a bid,” Merson says. “You know, [they offered Liverpool] £40 million-and-a-pound for Suarez. Bid £60 million. Arsenal would have won the league by now.

“There’s an arrogance at Arsenal at the moment, and the arrogance isn’t helping at all. The fans are fighting each other and people up above couldn’t care less.”

Sky Sports will show the biggest games in the Premier League run in including Chelsea v Manchester United and the North London and Manchester derbies.

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