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Talk of selling Ozil or Sanchez raises more Arsenal questions

Talk of selling Ozil or Sanchez raises more Arsenal questions
From ESPN - October 13, 2017

Arsenal would not be Arsenal these days without a continuing "Is he staying or going?" narrative to dominate headlines, news conferences and fan-forum chatter.

Arsene Wenger, himself the main subject of that narrative last season, made sure that this season's ongoing saga concerning Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil will only pick up speed in the next few months after acknowledging that Arsenal might cash in on the duo in January.

It was an unusual admission from Wenger, who spent all summer vehemently insisting that Ozil and Sanchez would stay at the club, only to try to offload Sanchez on transfer deadline day.

And it raises a whole boatload of questions about the decision to keep the star duo at the Emirates this summer in the first place.

Here's an attempt to sort out why Arsenal should -- or should not -- entertain a January sale, and how things might play out:

Did not Wenger spend all summer saying Arsenal would rather lose the pair on free transfers next summer instead of selling them to a direct rival? Why entertain the idea of selling them at a cut-rate price months later?

Yes he did, although it was never clear why it was better to see Sanchez, hypothetically, join Manchester City for free in 2018 rather than for 60 million in 2017. Perhaps Wenger was still hoping to persuade both players to sign a contract extension before their current deals run out next year. But it now seems clear that Sanchez at least has no intention of doing so. And if he's going to end up at City anyway, then Arsenal may as well get what they can for him. The same could be said for Ozil, if he has his heart set on going to Manchester United, although there is still a realistic chance of him signing a new Arsenal deal.

But financially, it seems like a massive own-goal by Arsenal. Had Manchester City been given the option of paying 60m for Sanchez in August (which they tried) or less than half that in January, there's no question they would have opted for the latter.

What about the sporting aspect of selling your two best players halfway through the season? How can you justify that?

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