It appears Arsenal may have a solution to the Alexis Sanchez dilemma.
With the Chilean forward yet to sign a new deal at the Emirates Stadium and his contract running out at the end of this season, that means from January he can agree to join a club outside of England on a free transfer on July 1, 2018.
However, the Daily Star say the Gunners want to swap Sanchez for Paris Saint-Germain’s Julian Draxler in January.
That could suit everyone concerned but would PSG really do this deal knowing that Sanchez would be available for nothing a few months later?
Draxler, 24, is probably worth over $75 million in today’s market and he is a key part of the future of the German national team. However, with Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe starting every game at PSG, his opportunities in his favored attacking midfield role seem limited. He has come off the bench in four of his eight appearances for PSG this season.
The German star has been linked with a move to Arsenal in the past (‘who hasn’t Arsene Wenger nearly signed?’ I hear you cry. Fair point) and he certainly represents a stress-free solution compared to Sanchez.
Despite his brilliance — his backheel assist against Brighton on Sunday was sublime — Sanchez’s time at Arsenal appears to be up and this deal would save Arsenal some face if they received a German international in return.
But again, why would PSG do this deal? Well, let’s say they make the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds, which is highly likely. Sanchez (who has only played in the Europa League this season) would then be available to help Neymar, Cavani, Mbappe and Co. push for the European title in the second half of this season.
According to UEFA rules, Sanchez could be registered to play for PSG in the knockout rounds under Article 44:
44.01 For all matches from the start of the round of 16, a club may register a maximum
of three new eligible players for the remaining matches in the current
competition. Such registration must be completed by 1 February 2018 (24.00CET)
at the latest. This deadline cannot be extended.
44.02 One player from the above quota of three who has been fielded in a UEFA club
competition group stage match for another club in the current season may
exceptionally be registered, provided that the player has not been fielded:
a. in the same competition for another club; or
b. for another club that is currently in the same competition.
Again, this deal could work for everyone.
PSG would get another high-earner off their wage bill with an impending UEFA investigation into Financial Fair Play rules. Draxler would be a star at Arsenal and is five years younger than Sanchez. Alexis Sanchez could challenge for Europe’s biggest trophies.
And Arsenal would wipe a little more egg off their face after a deadline day $90 million deal for Sanchez to move to Manchester City (with Thomas Lemar arriving at Arsenal from Monaco) fell through.