Sunday 25 February 2018

Arsenal legend slams 'biggest mercenary in football' Alexis Sanchez as he prepares to join Man United

Alexis Sanchez
Alexis Sanchez
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Arsenal legend Martin Keown has accused Alexis Sanchez of being ‘the biggest mercenary in football’ as the Chilean forward prepares to seal his highly lucrative move to Manchester United.

After Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger admitted his club could not match the financial package put together by United to sign Sanchez, Keown has suggested the Arsenal No.7 has shown his true colours by walking away from his ‘dream’ of moving to Manchester City to sign for their local rivals.

"Sanchez has got to be the biggest mercenary in football," Keown told the Daily Mail.

"Manchester City have wanted to sign Sanchez since the summer and, if no deal is done in January, they will be waiting for him at the end of the season.

"City would be the natural place for Sanchez to go to develop his football. He has worked with Pep Guardiola before, but for Sanchez, this is clearly not about going to the best team, working with Guardiola and taking his game to another level.

"He has probably thought that he will not get a better offer if he waits until the summer, so he might as well take the best deal on offer now. It has been all about the money.

"From Manchester United’s point of view, they had to blow City out of the water. Signing Sanchez takes them up a few notches when it comes to competing with their rivals. Ultimately, if we want to have a competitive league, City cannot have all the best players."

Keown went on to suggest the uncertainty around the futures of Sanchez and Mesut Ozil - who are both out of contract at Arsenal this summer, has had a negative effect on the club as they have struggled to find their best form this season.

"Ozil and Sanchez have held the club to ransom in so many ways, not just financially," he added.

"It has affected the group. Their team-mates are thinking, ‘Why doesn’t anybody want to stay at Arsenal?’

"Last season, those two players were able to use the uncertainty surrounding Arsene Wenger’s future as an excuse. Yet since Wenger signed his two-year contract, Ozil and Sanchez have still not signed.

"When I was at the club, the likes of Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira were superstars but we were still made to feel special as well. There was never a feeling that they were more important than we were.

"There was a thirst and hunger for success. When you came to training, every day was a new day. The training ground was never boring and the sessions were ultra-competitive.

"You got on well with your team-mates but ultimately you wanted to get into the team ahead of them. There were times where we were told we had to ease off on our tackling!

"I don’t know whether this is the case anymore. Now, an inconsistency has crept in. When you watch players like Alexandre Lacazette, there is no brightness or fun to their game. That feel-good factor has to come back into the group."

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