Alexis Sanchez: A Classic Case of Fake News


Whither Alexis Sanchez at Arsenal Football Club?

The way the media has spun this story since last May, not surprisingly, those who are most prone to their deceptions and fakeries, must be feeling like John Denver in “Leaving on a jet plane”:

“All my bags are packed
I’m ready to go
I’m standin’ here outside your door
I hate to wake you up to say goodbye
But the dawn is breakin’
It’s early morn
The taxi’s waitin’
He’s blowin’ his horn
Already I’m so lonesome
I could die”

According to the fakers, his suitcases are now packed for PSG, a few days earlier it was City, and prior to that it was Bayern. Disbelieve me at your peril.

In preparation for this piece, on Saturday afternoon EST, I did a quick search of Google News and in 45 seconds there were 2,500,000 hits on Alexis and his rumored transfer. As any informed person should know by now, Google is not being altruistic in generating this data. This is certainly one way of convincing advertisers they can gain the attention of those millions of eyeballs consuming the equivalent of transfer “junk food.” It is no wonder Alphabet Corporation, Google’s parent company, dominates the multi-billion on-line advertising space.

I am not for one moment blaming Google for this sorry state of news reporting, specifically sports coverage. With very few exceptions, like their political brethren, football journos and their bosses have decided facts be damned in the pursuit of a juicy transfer rumor.  It is all about ratings whether in electronic or print media.  Just as bad or even worse are the online websites and their twitter offspring who multiply like weeds at this time of the year. One can easily assume they are profiting from the increased web traffic during transfer season. Those of my readers, not using an adblocker when browsing, are suckers for pop-ups selling you dildos and sexy anime apart from being at risk for malware.

To understand the commercial benefit of peddling transfer rumors take for example the top listings, ranked by popularity, by Google from my 45-second search:

“PSG increasingly confident of signing Neymar and Alexis Sánchez” (Guardian)

“Arsenal transfer news: Alexis Sanchez to PSG, official bid to be made” (Fox Sports)

“Arsene Wenger attempts to ward off rivals’ interest in Alexis Sanchez” (Independent)

Arsene Wenger adamant Alexis Sanchez won’t join PSG” (ESPN FC)

“Alexis Sanchez meets PSG chief ahead of €50m move” (Goal.com)

Nearly 8 hours after Arsene Wenger’s clear and unambiguous statement that reports of Alexis meeting with PSG was “…only media imagination”, with the unusual exception of ESPN FC, both the mainstream media and, renown rumor-monger, Goal.com were still peddling the bullsh*t that Alexis Sanchez could be in both Chile and France at the same time. Moreover how could he, without the club’s permission, be discussing personal terms relative to his transfer, which is one of the biggest violations of the rules and regulations governing player contracts. This could not only land him in trouble but also put PSG at risk of a transfer ban as happened earlier to Barcelona and only recently to Athletico Madrid.

The facts is, as of the time of posting this blog, nobody knows, with perhaps the exception of Arsene Wenger, whether Alexis will be staying or leaving Arsenal Football Club this transfer window. Admittedly his future is somewhat up in the air.

The first sign publicly of his unhappiness or disgruntlement with the club is the strop he threw in February after the first of two defeats to Bayern Munich in last year’s champions league. It amuses me no-end to read and listen pundits and journos claim Alexis was let down by the rest of the squad in that game. The fact is,  he was relatively ineffective, coughing up possession on several occasions leading to dangerous counter-attacks by the Bavarians. Sounds familiar? This is despite his elevation by the media as a world class player who is a game-changer at this level. Have we forgotten the funny faces and contemptuous smiles he made after he was substituted?

In the subsequent week there were reports of him being part of a bust-up on the training ground. While the manager has never confirmed, it was self-evident that as a consequence he was benched for the start of an important PL game with Liverpool which followed thereafter. The fact that Arsenal lost that game added to the media myth of the indispensable Alexis, as if he was not part of both Bayern losses and a good many others.

Since the February-March decline in its fortunes, the media had been doing its level best to create a climate of doom and gloom around the club featuring the supposed denouement of Arsene Wenger as manager and the eventual departure of both Sanchez and Ozil, the club’s two best players. Apparently the two stars plan to not renew their contracts as they go into their final year because they are earth-shatteringly disappointed that AFC did not qualify for the champions league.

Has it struck anyone that none of the predictions made last April-May by the mainstream media and like-minded bloggers, tweeters and podcasters concerning the imminent demarche of Arsenal Football Club and Arsene Wenger has come to pass? None. Nada. Zilch.

The media has so carefully constructed a narrative of doom and gloom, it seems they have no choice but to continue promotion of rumors, half-truths and downright lies about Alexis.

As anybody who follows me on twitter knows, this defenestration of the media does not mean I am a fanboy of the Chilean.  To the contrary, I support those who think his individualistic tendency does more harm than good to the way Arsenal plays. Specially concerning to me is his desire to drop into the midfield to demand the ball but thereafter lose possession because of his less than 70% pass completion rate. This, in my opinion, is detrimental to team balance in both attack and defense.

But one cannot deny the importance of his 33 goals and 15 assists in all competitions. Of 77 PL goals by Arsenal last season Alexis contributed 24 or 31%. Until Arsenal can replace those goals it would be foolhardy to lose his services.

It seems to me the club is preparing for any eventuality. Surely it is not a coincidence that the service of Lacazette was secured early in the transfer window for a club record transfer fee of £49 million. Usually Arsenal will be conservative in its valuation of a player and take the negotiations into the ultimate week of the transfer window. Another significant piece of information is the public admission by Ivan Gazidis, when in Australia, that the club was club was trying to attract Thomas Lemar from Monaco is also evidence that a wide player to supplement or replace Alexis is being sought.

But I give Wenger the benefit of the doubt. He knows better than almost anyone how risky it is to depend on new players coming from a different league to come up to speed and to immediately produce. Without big money to spend, he took some pretty big risks in the past and was able to scramble into the champions league. In recent years he has repeatedly proclaimed, to those who would listen, that the PL is getting tougher and tougher as the so-called small clubs are acquiring better players and coaches etc.

I therefore take him at his word that he wants to keep Alexis for the final year of his contract and not sell him to a domestic or foreign club.  In the summer of 2003 he convinced Patrick Vieira, who was agitating for a transfer, to commit for a final year. Patrick renewed his contract and stayed. The rest, as we all know, is history.

By the way, two years later Patrick did get the big move he had been agitating for. Wenger appears convinced he can do something as big with Alexis.

If the Chilean does, however, refuse to extend his contract and agitate for a transfer, all bets are off. There is no way the board (big decisions are not down solely to Wenger) will easily allow him to walk for a free with 50 million in English or European currencies on the table. Only clubs with humongous non-football sources of revenue such as United, Chelsea and City can easily treat 30-40-50 million as monopoly money. At the end of the day football is a business, not a hobby. Owners, shareholders, managers must look toward the long-term interest of the club not only the short-term gratification of fans.

Happily we are not at that point yet. But the day of reckoning is coming sooner or later. There are 5 weeks more in the transfer window. That is almost a lifetime in football. Stay tuned.

177 comments on “Alexis Sanchez: A Classic Case of Fake News

  1. some fine build up play, walcott lofts a pass to giroud but the keeper makes a point blank save from his header


  2. arsenal 0-1 benfica

    shot deflected off per past ospina


  3. nelson with a fine run, puts a cross in right to the middle of the six yard box, no team mate made the run, 3 or 4 standing around in wider areas


  4. Theoooooooooooooooooooooo

    1-1. Iwobi plays it in behind, Kolasinac second favorite to get it but he battlers hard and wins the ball before crossing from byline to theo in middle of the area to volley home

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Theoooooooooooooooooooooooo

    2-1, Wengerball at its best and Theo has an open goal to roll the ball into

    Liked by 1 person

  6. 2-2

    woeful defending combined with a deflected shot and its all square.


  7. HT: 2-2

    enjoyable enough of a game, Nelson started brightly, Theo with two goals, Kolasinac has impressed, Coqeulin went off injured. Some Wengerball, some poor defending.


  8. Chambers on for Holding


  9. now we get a deflected goal, 3-2

    theo with the cross in for Giroud but a defender trying to cut it out knocks it past his keeper


  10. I like Sead – a footballer with a bit of steel – and Alex Iwobi continues his excellent pre season work out

    Liked by 4 people

  11. ah theo, fires over after some great build up play, theo, to nelson to giroud to theo six eight yards out but baloons his left footed shot


  12. benfica rocking a bit, if we can get another goal we could really open them up


  13. benfica bring on 3 subs


  14. Girouddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddddd

    4-2 left foot volley from a left footed nelson cross after a brilliant turn from the kid

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Giroud denied by a fine save


  16. Iwobiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii

    what a goal

    wengerball ends with a curling drive from iwobi into the top corner

    Liked by 2 people

  17. xhaka off – Ramsey on
    Walcott off – ozil on
    iwobi off – AOC on
    AMN off – monreal on
    Nelson off – Lacazette on


  18. Pleasing run out and we created enough chances to have got into double figures. And we stuck at it for the full 90. Something more authentic about playing football in the rain, dispels the ‘friendly’ atmosphere a bit.

    Presumably Lacazzette to start tomorrow ?

    Liked by 4 people

  19. FT: Arsenal 5-2 Benfica

    Walcott x2
    an own goal

    some wengerball, some poor defending, overall a good enjoyable game. Nelson has great potential. Kolasinac is one big unit. Iwobi goal the pick of the goals.
    Looking forward to tomorrow’s game.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. yes anicol, lacazette is due to start tomorrow.

    Liked by 2 people

  21. I’m off to do some French polishing

    by the way I loved quest’s subliminal message with their ad, after all what is more French polished than Arsenal.

    Liked by 4 people

  22. looking at chamber’s performance today, i think playing 3 at the back might what he needs to make it at arsenal. he was very solid and composed.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Sales of meths, wire wool and French polish off the scale this evening- tremendous performance

    Liked by 3 people

  24. Very enjoyable afternoon’s entertainment. Stand out performers Seo and Theo. OG picked up from where he left off last season. AMN and Holding not quite ready. Chambers very composed at the back so I hope he does have a future with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. if we are unable to sign a center defender before the start of the season, i think it is important we keep chamber. he seems to have develop some comfidence on the ball over the last one season. he doesnt just kick the ball aways as before, and he even had some dribbles in the game.
    kolasinac showed a lot of promise today as well that partly has to do with iwobi who is always ready to give him the ball whenever he was available. unlike what we saw of alexis last season who would rather choose to go solo and cut inward which sometimes put monreal under pressure whenever he loses the ball. should the club choose to keep him as promised this season, i’ll wenger to drive it into him to make the most of the overlapping runs of the wingbacks. nelson reminds me of wilshere a few years ago in the emirates cup. very composed and inteligent in his play. plays very well with both feet. his assist would make ozil proud!


  26. in fairness to holding, this is his first pre season game and he didint play a lot in the euroU21. niles also was played out of position if i may say. although we are yet to know his prefered position. during this preseason, he has played right wingback, left wingback, left side of the center defence and right side as well. he didnt do too badly for me. getting into the team ahead of bielek says a lot.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Lovely, lovely entertainment and very hopeful signs for the coming season. I assume A5 is doing a game review.

    Liked by 2 people

  28. I think he did it shotts!

    Layksite, don’t get me wrong, I’m not dissing those young players, I was just responding to eduardo’s comments about ‘poor defending’. Both of them made mistakes that contributed to both Benfica goals, but AMN is not a central defender and no one can argue that he is ready for that responsibility in an AFC team. I’m also aware that Holding has not been back long and was just acknowledging that it showed today.

    Liked by 3 people

  29. Once again, Arsene Wenger’s post-match press conference was dominated by Alexis’ future and when he will return to training.

    The Chile international posted a picture on social media declaring that he is unwell, and the boss was asked about it on Saturday following the Emirates Cup victory against Benfica.

    Kolasinac – My first Emirates Stadium experience

    This is what he had to say:

    on Alexis…
    He has flu, yes. I had him on text yesterday. He will come back as soon as possible and we were in touch with him and his doctor and he has no basic problem apart from the fact that he should come back tomorrow, but he comes back on Tuesday.

    on whether Alexis’ future has developed…
    There’s no development, it’s always the same.

    on whether he thinks people may have misinterpreted Alexis’ Instagram post…
    No. Your job is to be suspicious. Your job is built on mistrust and mine is built on trust. So that’s why I prefer my side.

    if what he said about his own contract situation last season causing uncertainty also applies to Alexis this season…
    No, it’s not the same. It’s not the same I think, the players who have one year of contract have to respect their contract and play out their contract. After for a manager is a bit different because it concerns more what is the future of the club. The players were thinking what’s going on and what’s happening, so it creates uncertainty because it’s a global policy. I am responsible for the global policy of the club but for the players it is different.

    on whether Alexis has told him whether he would like to stay or leave…
    I cannot reveal to you what he says to me always, no.

    on what’s being said in the text messages between them…
    I don’t want to talk. I cannot reveal what is a secret conversation.

    on what language they are texting in…
    We speak in English.

    on whether Alexis is in the country…
    He’s flying back as soon as he’s in a position to fly back. He has flu and that’s a question of normally four or five days.

    on whether he will have a meeting with Alexis…
    I cannot constantly talk about that. I’m meeting with all the players.

    Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/wengers-latest-comments-alexis-future#PuAP6MEJFljsxkIX.99


  30. Arsene Wenger was delighted with Kolasinac after the match, and this is what he said in his post-match press conference:

    on the game…
    My thought is that it is a good preparation for us. The game was played at a good pace and overall that’s what you look for at the Emirates Cup, a good 90 minutes to all of the players in the squad and to develop our quality going forward. I think today we did that very well.

    on Sead Kolasinac…
    I think he has gone, in pre-season, from strength to strength. He started a bit nervous, but every single week he moved his level up and in the last game was already good and today again I think he was influential as well. The first two goals came from him. He looks powerful and the timing of his availability going forward was very good.

    on Reiss Nelson
    He’s a young player of our academy and he had an encouraging pre-season and he has shown that he can dribble, he can pass people, he is not fazed by the occasion and he looks confident. Of course it’s good for him, the confidence level that he can play in these kind of games.

    on whether Walcott and Giroud are playing for their futures at Arsenal…
    No, it is a great performance from them.

    on what was said between him and the pitch-invading supporter…
    I don’t know, honestly. I saw that the stewards caught him in a bit of a strong way and I just said calm down, he looked like he wanted to talk to me. I tried to find out what he wanted to tell me.

    on what he thinks of the Africa Cup of Nations becoming a summer tournament…
    Well, I demanded that for a long, long time because I’m convinced that it was a handicap for some players who are not chosen. If you have too many Africans in the same team, in January that is most of the time a vital period for the club, so they lose half of the team and so they don’t survive. I believe it was a good decision and we’ve waited in Europe for that for a long, long time, but it was tradition in Africa to keep it in January most of the time and I didn’t know the real reason behind that but I think it’s great for us.

    Copyright 2017 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/kolasinac-has-gone-strength-strength#kXTfgt6gVuE8LRKc.99

    Read more at https://www.arsenal.com/news/kolasinac-has-gone-strength-strength#X3Xt4wHo65LXbh4i.99


  31. Wenger on Lemar: “We don’t speak about how the negotiations go. … But at the moment there’s nothing special to say on this case.”


  32. likely starting 11 for tomorrow’s game

    Elneny koscielny Monreal
    Bellerin Oxlade-Chamberlain Ramsey Bramal
    Ozil Lacazette Welbeck


  33. have to say thought Giroud was immence yesterday, while the attention may have been on the youngest member of our team, it was the old man of France which showed the sheen some old deadwood can produce.
    There was a few misunderstandings as you would expect with these patchwork teams and along with the rain this contributed to a few densive errors, with the throw in our half going backwards instead if forwards again leading to a goal against.
    I like the new lad Sead however at this stage he is definately better going forwards rather than defensively however I think that will improve going through the season.
    Well that was mainly the B side and their perfomance was excellent under the circumstances. Today we will see mainly the A side against a well drilled side that are not known for enterainment it should be a good test.
    For those wondering about AMN best position he started as a winger before being converted, very sucessfully , to a central midfielder, of course at ARSENAL and ethos of total football players are tested everywhere.

    Liked by 2 people

  34. Are there any video highlights of the game anywhere?


  35. have to laugh at how the media are twisting the Arsenal doctor visits Alexis “amid transfer rumors”. It is very standard for Arsenal to have the doctor visit any of our players when they are ill. In this case Alexis is said to have flu, so the last thing AFC would want is for him to turn up at the club and risk passing on the virus to staff and other players. Very standard for the club doctor to visit the ill player. Different when its an injury, in that case the player comes in for treatment, but for any sort of virus the club try to treat the player away from the club.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. it seems Matic has joined Man Utd from Chelsea


  37. lacazette doesn’t score today — what a waste of money, average player

    lacazette scores three goals today — so what its only a friendly and sanogo got 4


  38. seville got in there but hit the post and afc clear


  39. we are trying to pass it even in the most tightest of defensive positions


  40. HT: 0-0

    an open game so far, both sides with a couple of good chances.
    Arsenal maybe over doing the playing out from the back. We seem to be playing well within ourselves so far. Think there is a few gears that can be gone up in the second half.
    Willock runs like Pires, same flat footed style


  41. Welbeck has shown a real burst of pace a couple of times in the first half.


  42. Cohen Bramal on for the second half. Bellerin has gone off, should mean Ox switching to RWB


  43. Sevilla take the lead, Rolls the ball past Cech from the middle of the area.


  44. so far in the second half ox has got into some great attacking positions but his crosses have not found their intended target yet.


  45. seem to be upping the tempo
    now some subs coming on for both sides

    xhaka on for willock

    30 minutes to go


  46. Lacazetteeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    1-1 our new man levels the game with a fine finish


  47. on our goal, ox finally found his intended target, this time with a low cross after a fine run, and laca sidefooted the ball in beside the post. Calm finish.


  48. Seville take the lead with a wonder goal from nzonzi, edge of the area he curls the ball over cech into the far corner off the post.

    around 20 minutes left.


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