Signing Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon could be the move which keeps Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal for at least another year, according to Nigel Winterburn. The France international is expected to move to The Emirates Stadium this week in a club-record deal worth £52.7m.
The 26-year-old is one of the most sought-after strikers in Europe and despite wanting to play for a club in the Champions League he will settle for a move to north London. Lacazette netted 28 times in Ligue 1 last season with only Edinson Cavani of Paris-Saint Germain scoring more in the French top flight.
What remains to be seen is how the arrival of Lacazette will influence the future of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, both of whom have entered the final 12 months of their contracts at Arsenal. Both players have concerns over the club's ability to compete for silverware on a regular basis but that could change with the addition of one of the most potent strikers on the Continent.
Winterburn, a title winner with Arsenal in 1998, believes Lacazette's arrival could trigger the retention of Sanchez at least until the end of next season. "I think it was obvious to Arsenal fans and to Arsene Wenger that one of those areas to strengthen is the centre forward position," Winterburn told Sky Sports.
"I am hoping [Olivier] Giroud will stay. I still feel he is valuable to the team as well. Arsenal know they need quality to help them challenge for the title. I hope the Lacazette deal leaves [Sanchez] at the club. He can play on the left, up front or in the hole. Arsenal cannot afford to bring in Lacazette then two weeks later Sanchez leaves. I am hoping Wenger can persuade him to stay for another season, see what happens with the team then sign a new contract."
Sanchez would be available for nothing in 12 months' time with his contract having expired. If the Chilean does indeed have ambitions of leaving Arsenal then the club would be advised to sell him this summer if they have any ambitions of recouping a fee. The club value the ex-Barcelona forward at £50m with both Bayern Munich and Manchester City linked with his services.