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Arsenal star Alexis Sanchez has described the protests against manager Arsene Wenger as “very bad.”
Per The Mirror‘s John Cross, Sanchez said: “For me, it [fan demonstrations] is very bad. He is the manager who gave a stadium to the club, won cups, and he has been 21 years in the job. He is the creator of the stadium, the players and style of the club.”
The Chilean, who has little more than a year left on his current deal, confirmed his future will be decided in the summer and that Arsenal’s transfer activity may have little bearing on his decision as it is “normal” for clubs to strengthen in the summer.
Arsenal are on the verge of finishing outside the top four for the first time under Wenger, barring an unlikely set of circumstances on the Premier League’s final day, per ESPN’s Paul Carr:
Paul Carr @PCarrESPN
To make the top four, Arsenal needs:
– Win & LIV loss/draw OR
– Win & City loss and make up 6+ in GD OR
– Draw & LIV loss by at least 2
5/16/2017, 8:41:14 PM
Their disappointing Premier League and UEFA Champions League campaigns have seen the protests against the Frenchman intensify.
The situation has not been aided by speculation over his future, with his current contract set to expire this summer and Wenger yet to confirm if he will be signing a new deal or moving on.
Rory Smith of The New York Times has been critical of Wenger’s refusal to confirm his plans:
Rory Smith @RorySmith
Put it this way: if it was Mourinho doing it, we’d all be banging on about what a massive attention-seeking egotist he is.
5/16/2017, 9:30:18 PM
The uncertainty has bled into the futures of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, with the club so far this season giving them little reason to stay beyond next year.
Sanchez has enjoyed a remarkable campaign, netting 28 goals and providing 19 assists for his team-mates in all competitions.
On Tuesday, he kept Arsenal’s slim hopes of Champions League football alive with a brace against Sunderland despite struggling for fitness, per Cross:
John Cross @johncrossmirror
1-0 Sanchez. He’s half fit, in fact he’s not even that, and he still scored.
5/16/2017, 8:13:45 PM
He earned his manager’s praise after the game, relayed by ESPN FC’s Mattias Karen:
Mattias Karén @MattiasKaren
Wenger says he only decided to play Sanchez at 4 p.m. “Once he gets the ball on the pitch he becomes the devil and forgets his pain.”
5/16/2017, 9:00:55 PM
While it probably is best for the club if Wenger does depart this summer, Sanchez’s comments seem to imply he will not be necessarily heading for the exit door if the 67-year-old stays, however unpopular that decision may be.
Arsenal’s likely failure to finish in the top four could have a significant impact, though.
Whomever is in charge over the summer will need to do their best to convince him to sign a new deal at the club. Should they fail, they will have the unenviable task of trying to replace him while also addressing several other important needs in the squad.