Arsenal have been advised to consider selling Alexis Sanchez despite securing a deal for France international Alexandre Lacazette. The Gunners have smashed their transfer record to acquire Lacazette from Lyon but the future of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil remain the main points of discussion.
Both players have entered the final 12 months of their contracts at The Emirates Stadium and have made big wage demands. Sanchez is demanding a package worth £400,000-a-week to stay in north London, while Ozil – who returned to training this week ahead of the new season – wants £350,000-a-week. The club are yet to cave to their demands yet time is running out if they have any ambitions of recouping a fee for the pair in the market.
Lacazette's arrival is the marquee addition Arsenal fans have been waiting for after several summer of frugality from manager Arsene Wenger. But ex-striker Charlie Nicholas fears the move will have no influence on Sanchez's decision to stay – and urges the club to consider offloading the Chilean if their £50m valuation is met.
"I think Sanchez is completely and utterly his own man," he told Sky Sports. "We have seen that with his actions last season. He is a winner, a warrior, a fighter, a player we all truly admire and we'd love to keep him but if his heart is on trying to get the same wages as people like Messi and Ronaldo, it's not going to materialise.
"If they have to sell him and it would be harsh, painful with only one year remaining but they may have to consider this. Sanchez is in control of the whole situation because the club have been so slow in reacting and sorting this out.
"I have genuinely got bad vibes about Sanchez. It just feels as if he is teasing and tormenting other people to make an offer that Arsenal might have to consider. I hope I am wrong in that. I am certainly hopeful that if Lacazette's signing is an influence it should surely be a positive one."
However, Nicholas believes that fellow contract rebel Ozil will be convinced to stay at Arsenal after the arrival of Lacazette. Only Edinson Cavani outscored the 26-year-old last season and that calibre of player – similar to that of Nicholas Anelka or Ian Wright – could be enough to ensure he signs a new contract.
"I do genuinely think they are signing a guy who if he comes in with a pedigree like Ian Wright or even the way young [Nicholas] Anelka did when he was at Arsenal - he reminds me a little of that situation," added Nicholas.
"I am very hopeful that [Mesut] Ozil will sign. The midfield creative side will be fine- he will enjoy that and he should score some guaranteed goals for Arsenal. The statement is to say to [Alexis] Sanchez and others we are serious to get back challenging for the title and we are serious about getting back into the Champions League again. It is a big statement of intent from Arsenal."