By Matt Farr
Football Insider names the Arsenal player of the year for 2016:
Arsenal striker Alexis Sanchez has undoubtedly been the Gunners’ best player in 2016.
Many players stood out for Arsenal in the second-half of last season and the first-half of the current campaign, but none have had quite the impact of the Chile international.
He joined the club from Barcelona in 2014 for a fee in the region of £31.7 million, and was primarily deployed as a winger by Arsene Wenger. His work-rate is exceptional, and Sanchez quickly became one of the Gunners’ key figures.
In the continued absence of a world-class striker, Sanchez, 28, has now firmly established himself at the heart of the Arsenal attack in a more central role, scoring and incredible 14 goals and contributing 12 assists from 23 games this term.
He is already within touching-distance of his haul from last season, where he scored 17 times from 42 games in all competitions.
With Arsenal still challenging on multiple fronts this season – the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League – the club have been heavily reliant on Sanchez’s goals, and they will need him to keep firing if they are going to go on and lift any silverware this season.
Unfortunately for Arsenal, ongoing speculation over his demands for a new contract has shrouded increasing uncertainty over his long-term future at the club.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger wants to tie him down to a new £250,000 per week deal, but those above the manager in the club hierarchy are more reluctant to go against the club’s current wage structure.
It is a difficult situation for Arsenal right now, but if you take into account his performances this year, there should only really be one outcome – and that is to re-sign Sanchez.
They would not be where they are without him, certainly this season, and he is crucial to their ambitions.
Should he stay at the club, the next step for Sanchez is to lead Arsenal to either their first Premier League title in well over a decade, or to see them to their first ever Champions League crown.
He is world class and getting better.
In other Arsenal news, this former Chelsea man has hit out at Arsenal following their defeat to Manchester City.