There was a time when pretty much every big-name player and otherwise would look at Arsene Wenger with admiration and probably think along the lines of "I would love to play for him." While there are still quite a few players who think in that manner, most of them are either in the pundit's seat trying their best to protect the manager who changed the landscape of English football or doing their own coaching thing, trying to make sense of this unforgiving job.
It is unforgiving, from being a hero one minute, you can turn into being the source of ire for thousands and thousands, probably millions in the case of a global club like Arsenal, of supporters the next.
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A problem too difficult
Arsene Wenger has had to go through that phase quite a few times in his 20-and-a-half-year career as Arsenal manager and, somehow, he has always ended up fighting against that tide and coming out at the other end with his reputation intact.
This latest feeling of discontent, though, is different. It doesn't feel like one that Wenger will be able to overcome.
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Overcoming the abuse from the fans is one thing, but when that discontent creeps over to the players, it turns into a completely different beast.
Sanchez and feelings
Alexis Sanchez is the kind of player who wears his heart on his sleeve; who wants to win, win, win every game he plays and who wants to see that same kind of commitment and mentality from everyone around him.
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So, it shouldn't be a surprise if he loses his cool or shows his emotions on the pitch or in the training ground every now and then.
But, unlike some of the other top-class players that have come and gone during the second half of Wenger's reign, Sanchez is not someone to sit quietly and then throw his toys out of the pram, demanding a move, when the transfer window opens.
Something about standing still
If he sees that this Arsenal team are going nowhere, he will probably go right up and tell anyone willing to listen that this isn't working; that something needs to change; that you cannot keep having the same thing happen over and over again, every single season, and then keep promising progress at the start of the next.
Having been at the club for nearly three years, Sanchez, like most of the fans, has clearly understood that as long as Wenger is at the club, standing still is what Arsenal are going to do. And there cannot be anything worse for a player than to stand still every season and have to go through the motions and play the game and score the goals, only to end up finishing at exactly the same place as the last.
While storming out of a training session and then arguing with teammates is not the right thing to do, you can almost understand why Sanchez seems so downcast and frustrated. It is the feeling that most Arsenal fans, apart from the die-hard Wenger supporters, have had for the past five-six years, if not more.
Player exodus likely
And can anyone blame Sanchez if he decides not to sign a new contract and says he wants to leave in the summer? After all, clubs like Juventus and PSG are showing an interest in the 28-year-old and what any player, especially the world-class ones, wants is to win trophies, or at least compete for them.
Will it be any surprise if Mesut Ozil does the same as well? And then Hector Bellerin and Aaron Ramsey and Laurent Koscielny.
Something's got to give and if Wenger is not the one to accept defeat and realise that it is time for him to bid goodbye to Arsenal, Sanchez will be the first one out of the door.
Indeed, according to a report in the Daily Mirror, Sanchez has had several rows with Wenger and has already told the manager and the management, who seem paralysed when it comes to making a decision over their manager, such is the sway that Wenger holds at this club, that he wants to leave in the summer – that is not a great situation for anyone and doesn't shine the player in the greatest of lights, no matter what the situation.
The only way to convince Sanchez to do otherwise and ink a new contract – if his relationship with his current teammates isn't too fractured already – is by getting a new manager in the summer. There is no guarantee that Massimiliano Allegri or Thomas Tuchel or Leonardo Jardim or Diego Simeone – the one that Arsenal should really pursue – will be able to persuade Sanchez to stay, but what looks guaranteed is that if Wenger signs that two-year contract, Arsenal will be without Sanchez from next season.