Arsenal, FPL and the great Alexis Sanchez conundrum

4:08pm Jul 25 2017

Is Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez the first pick in your FPL squad this season? No? Didn’t think so…

When it comes to Arsenal players and FPL, there’s only one name on everyone’s lips – Alexis Sanchez.

The explosive Chilean scored 24 goals and bagged 11 assists from both midfield and striker roles last season, with a grand total of 264 FPL points, earning him the accolade of the highest point scorer for the 2016/17 Fantasy Premier League season.

He was the star performer in a disappointing season for Arsenal, with his inspired performances helping the Gunners finish 5th in the table and securing them a place in the Europa League.

An FA cup win added a silver lining to Arsenal’s campaign, with Sanchez on the score-sheet and being a persistent threat throughout the game.

Can I justify owning Sanchez in FPL?

His ownership last season peaked at around 45% – a number matched only by the prolific Spurs striker Harry Kane – with Sanchez being the first player I added to my FPL team

However, this year, his ownership is now sat at a minuscule 14.6%, with the majority of Fantasy Premier League bosses likely to be awaiting news on his rumoured departure to either Manchester City or PSG.

This season, I have avoided Alexis Sanchez, in favour of a forward trio of Kane, Lukaku and Morata, as my big front 3.

This front 3 has extraordinary potential and if all of them hit the ground running, their price and ownership are both guaranteed to rise rapidly, making it difficult for those FPL bosses who don’t already own them, to accommodate them.

Arsenal’s new star signing, Alexandre Lacazette, is available at a modest £10.5m and has the potential to form a strong partnership with Sanchez – however, many FPL bosses are undecided on this duo, due to Sanchez’s contract concerns, leaving his ownership around the 20% mark.

Listed as a midfielder on FPL, but sometimes playing up front, Alexis Sanchez doesn’t fit the bill of what many FPL bosses are looking for in a premium-priced midfield player.

A hefty price tag of £12.0m has put off many of us off, and with potential high scorers such as Lukaku, Aguero and Kane being available for similar, if not lower prices this year, it’s no surprise that Sanchez’s ownership is less than 15%.

The striker position is where most players tend to spend the main bulk of their £100m budget – but, this could all change if Sanchez pledges his future to the club, leaving many FPL mangers needing to rip up their teams to fit him in. Nightmare!

Players such as Alli (£9.5m) and Coutinho (£9.0m) have dominated the midfield position with ownership figures of 38.1% and 33.6% respectively (at the time of writing).

Other star midfielders such as De Bruyne (£10.0m) with 17.1% ownership and the much discussed Frenchman, Paul Pogba (£8.0m) with 19.0% ownership, all feature heavily in early drafts.

These players are all capable of a high scoring season and all recorded over 100+ points in the 2016/17 FPL game, with Alli scoring a whopping 225 points, De Bruyne 199, Coutinho 171 and Pogba with a mediocre 115 points in comparison.

Will he stay or will he go?

Sanchez has a number of suitors, with Manchester City and PSG appearing to the front-runners for the Chilean according to the media.

Some outlets have published reports of a 4 year contract being agreed between the two parties, whilst others say he’s staying at Arsenal and that he’s simply enjoying a relaxed holiday away from the cameras…

In an interview with Chilean radio station Radio Sport, Sanchez spoke of his desire to win the Champions League and win trophies.

These quotes have been widely misinterpreted and reported by the media as a strong intention to leave for a Champions league club, adding further fuel to the ongoing saga.

The rumour mill has worked double-time over the summer and the Sanchez saga has been one of the hottest topics of discussion, with transfer fees of £35m-£70m are being thrown around and unconfirmed reports of meetings with PSG chairmen at swanky hotels dominating headlines from all major news outlets.

Arsene Wenger has reiterated repeatedly that Sanchez isn’t leaving the club and is confident that his mentality will not be changed by an intention to leave the club.

Wenger was questioned during the 2017 International Champions Cup and said

“The decision has been made and we will stick to that. The decision is not to sell”.

Wenger has also said he will not sell to a Premier League rival, leaving PSG as the potential main suitors for Sanchez’ highly coveted signature.

If a club does put an exceptional offer in for him then Wenger’s stance on the transfer may potentially change due to Sanchez’ contract situation.

Selling him in the summer for a large fee and reinvesting in quality players now would certainly be better than him leaving on a free next season.

Toys out of the pram?

Sanchez is often portrayed as ‘petulant’ by the media and sometimes his demeanour does does come across as childish behaviour, after being substituted or not winning an important game.

Sanchez, however, is a born winner and being a South American, raised in the north of Chile, he has incorporated a ‘killer’ mentality, which might explain his mannerisms on the pitch.

This ingrained mentality is clear in South American players around the world, such as the Barcelona trio of Messi, Neymar, Suarez; the notorious Diego Costa of Chelsea and his Chile team-mate, Arturo Vidal.

A mentality like this makes a player strive to win and to win at all costs, regardless of rules or ethics of the game.

Regardless of his position, price tag or FPL ownership figures, Alexis Sanchez is one of the best players in the league and if his performances last season are any sign of his desire and hunger to stay, then I can see his ownership rising dramatically throughout the pre-season, if he signs a new contract and commits to Arsenal.

Sanchez could potentially be one of the most selected players in the annual Gameweek 6 wildcard reshuffle, if he has an electric start to the season.

However, the question still remains – is Alexis Sanchez worth £12m on FPL, when it’s likely to kill available funds for 2 solid premium strikers and a stable defence?

Thank you for reading ‘Fantasy Premier League Tips:Arsenal, FPL and the great Alexis Sanchez conundrum’ which was written and produced by @SeanTDickens

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