Alexis Sanchez looks to be on his way to Manchester United, almost six years after Robin Van Persie made the same move. Following RVP’s exit Wenger promised the fans that this kind of move would never happen again, but here we are. With the move about the go through, the question is, who made the bigger contribution to Arsenal, and who will the club miss more – Alexis or RVP?
Robin Van Persie
The Dutchman was the quintessential Arsenal player; the true heir to Dennis Bergkamp and the classiest player in the league. On top of that, he was Arsenal’s captain, talisman and at times a one man team.
In his final season with The Gunners, he notched an incredible 30 league goals, dragging Arsenal to fourth place. The summer before, Arsenal had lost Fabregas, Nasri and Clichy, and the future looked bleak. But, RVP stepped up, forming a formidable partnership with Alex Song and scoring some of the finest goals Arsenal fans have ever seen.
Despite bringing in Giroud, Podolski and Cazorla, Arsenal struggled without a leader, and an individual match winner. The three additions should have been added to support RVP and allow Arsenal to move forward, but instead it was one step forward, two back.
Like Robin Van Persie, Alexis is a match winner. He has the ability to change a game in the flash of an eye, and drag the team to a result. He’s shown it many times over the last three and a half years, and his loss is going to hit Arsenal hard.
Sanchez has contributed 80 goals and 40 assists in 165 games since he joined Arsenal; an incredible record. At times he’s torn teams apart by himself, think West Ham away last season when he scored three and assisted one, but he’s also gone missing when he’s been needed most. When Arsenal went through their dire spell in the second half of last season, Alexis was nowhere to be seen, and it wasn’t until the team’s form improved that he started contributing again.
Unlike when Van Persie left, Sanchez isn’t the only world class player in the squad. Mesut Ozil looks like he will stay, and Arsenal have Lacazette up front, who is one goal away from regaining his confidence. On top of this, they’re likely to get Henrikh Mkhitaryan as part of the Sanchez deal, meaning the former Lyon hitman will have added creativity to work with.
Who will the squad miss more?
Arsenal is in a very different place financially now compared to 2012, and if Sanchez leaves, Wenger will have the funds to go out and buy a star player. Early reports suggest that man his Pierre EmerickAubamayang, and if this was to happen, it’s likely the aftermath of Sanchez’s exit won’t be as bad as it was when RVP left.
Aside from their influences on the pitch, Van Persie was very well thought of by his team mates. He was also a fan favourite who supposedly loved the club. His exit cut deep. Sanchez on the other hand, has had issues with team mates, most notably Aaron Ramsey, and the fans have had 12 months to accept his exit. Going to Manchester United will be a kick in the teeth to the fans that adored him, but this loss will be nowhere near as disastrous as that of RVP.