It’s not often you hear of a Premier League footballer being offered a pay rise and the first words out of your mouth are, “Is that all?”
That’s what happened when it was revealed Arsenal had offered Alexis Sanchez an extension that would take him to £130,000-a-week until 2017. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not to be sniffed at but, in the day of the £300k weekly salary that some footballers take home, it feels like the Gunners are undervaluing their man.
At first glance it’s easy to feel for the London team. They are below teams such as Real Madrid, Manchester City and PSG when it comes to wage structure and transfer spend. Wenger prides himself on keeping limits in place to ensure financial security, only broken on rare occasions. One of those was the signing of Mesut Ozil, whose initial wage of £150k a week still eclipses the latest Sanchez offer.
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It’s on second glance the empathy fades. The Arsenal board have repeatedly insisted there is cash to spend, it’s Arsene himself who has been frugal. Also, if there are to be unique cases for breaking the stringent self-imposed budget, surely Sanchez applies for the elite list?
The money Wenger chose not to be spend on a much-needed striker in the summer could refinance a better package for a player they simply can’t afford to lose.
Arsenal may feel it is a generous and appropriate offer. The finer details aren’t known and bonuses and clauses could bolster it. This consideration aside, it is more likely Arsenal are attempting to handcuff a standout performer rather than reward accordingly.
This leaves Sanchez with a couple of choices.
He could refuse to sign on the premise he is happy under his current contract and the new offer isn’t a substantial enough improvement. He could add that he wants to see signings that point toward a real title challenge before 2017.
Another option would be to sign, with or without a buy-out clause, and carry on as normal. His stock is rising all the time so it would seem foolish to upset the apple cart. Then if the time comes he wants to bail for a side more likely to win a title or challenge for the Champions League, he can enact some player power. Nowadays if a top player wants to leave, he usually goes. David De Gea the only exception to this rule in recent memory and that was down to administration oversights.
A club won’t let an asset rot and damage team morale if he’s determined to go. That’s why Sanchez is best served with his new contract. It increases his wage while not making him a top earner compared to other players across Europe so should another club coming knocking they immediately have an angle.
Arsenal may be hoping that having left Barcelona, Sanchez’s preferred alternatives to The Emirates are small in number. If this is the case it is a dangerous gamble not to offer all they can. The modern day footballer can motivate himself in any new jersey if it’s doubling his income. Just ask the players at PSG.
— Titanbet (@TitanBet) September 30, 2015