Thank You For The Memories, Alexis…

So it’s official, Alexis Sanchez has joined Manchester United while Henrikh Mkhitaryan has gone the other way in a straight swap deal.

He joined in the summer of 2014 and was our second biggest “marquee signing” after Mesut Özil the season before.

A lot of Arsenal fans will have negative feelings towards the Chilean forward but for me I can’t help but love him. Over the last few seasons, he is one of the very few players (perhaps the only one) who gave 110% every single time he put on the Arsenal shirt. He was a winner, someone who thought giving everything was the bare minimum and demanded the same from his teammates. And while his winning mentality was a hit with the fans, it didn’t go down so well with his fellow players.

The problem was that Alexis Sanchez was at a team with serious deficiencies and while there were rumours of dressing room unrest, he just displayed how the fans felt. Like him, we were sick of the mediocre performances from certain other players and the fact that we would make the same defensive errors time and time again. While it’s never good to show the world your anger and distain for how things are on the football pitch, there must have been a point where Alexis Sanchez thought enough is enough and just snapped – hence the theatrics at Bayern Munich.

Arsenal are a club where harmony is encouraged and while there’s nothing wrong with that, it encourages a lack of winning mentality or seriousness because no-one wants to rock the boat. But that’s the problem with Arsenal these days and why we’re stuck in a rut.

Do you think Tony Adams, Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Sol Campbell would settle for the lack of effort and desire from the players? The problem wasn’t Alexis Sanchez, but the Arsenal team he joined. If he arrived at Arsenal 10 years earlier he would have fit right in – and probably won a hat full of trophies.

On departing, Alexis Sanchez gave the following statement on Instagram:

“Gracias por todo Gunners ! I want to say thanks to the Technical Staff, to the medical team and all teammates with whom I shared many nice things for the club and especially those people who do not see themselves on the covers, but without them nothing would be possible, which are there to prepare food for us and take care of us day by day, those who keep our shoes clean and the grass in the best conditions. Many thanks to you for helping us to improve every day. Thank you very much ????.

“There are people (former club players) who have spoken with no knowledge of what happens inside the club and cause damage. I must say I always gave 100%, until the last day, when I asked to the Mister to be in the team, because I wanted to be a contribution.
I remember today, a conversation I had with Henry, a historic Arsenal player, who changed club for the same reason and today is my turn.

“Thanks for everything Gunners! All we achieved and the good moments that I gave to the club, I want to dedicate it to the fans, they are the most important. Thanks for every time you sing Alexis Sanchez Baby.”

And can you blame him for leaving? Forget about the fact he turned down Manchester City (or they pulled out of the race) the fact is both Manchester sides have a much better chance of winning anything compared to Arsenal, whatever the massive wages he’s on.

Robert Pires even said today that he thinks that Alexis Sanchez’s move to United wasn’t motivated by money but by the desire to win things. Jose Mourinho is a serial winner and won’t tolerate the kinds of mistakes we seem to make on a regular basis.

For me, Alexis Sanchez was sensational for us and seeing him in a Manchester United shirt hurts more than seeing Robin van Persie in one. Van Persie was a sign of the times when we struggled financially, selling off players like Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri in those years, yet this one stings because we don’t have money problems. Financially, we can compete but players want more than that – players want to win trophies and sadly, it’s clear that isn’t happening at Arsenal.

I wish him all the best, even though it will be so sad to see him in the red of Manchester.

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