Manchester City fans are tired of the ‘will he/won’t he’ Alexis Sanchez signing saga.
Thankfully it’s now make your mind up time for the choosy Chilean after he was left out of the Arsenal squad for today's 2-1 defeat at Bournemouth.
Arsene Wenger laughingly said Sanchez was ‘vague’ so he ‘...left him at home’ - but where will Alexis next call home?
It seems to boil down to whether Sanchez is a man of integrity or an individual driven by greed.
His ability and pedigree on the field is not in doubt. He’s a great player, the man you least want to see in possession when City play Arsenal.
His qualities as an individual with integrity, are however, up for scrutiny tonight.
It’s his prerogative if he opts to renege on his ‘agreement’ with City and succumb to United’s offer of more money for himself, his agent and his soon-to-be ex-employers.
United will have acquired a top class player, arguably paying over the odds in terms of fee and wages, at a time when Mourinho is perpetually whinging about City’s spending.
If that came to pass, City would have dodged a bullet, similar to the Dani Alves farce last summer.
Some City fans might argue the club should pay whatever it takes e.g. £40m in transfer and agent’s fees, plus a hike in wages, beyond that previously agreed with Sanchez.
That would be missing the point.
If Sanchez is prepared to treat Pep and City with such disdain, what kind of message would that send to a City squad packed with model professionals such as Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, and the man most under threat from Sanchez’s arrival, Sergio Aguero?
City’s superb season thus far has been built on foundations of skill, tactical acumen, resilience and camaraderie.
If – if – Sanchez was perceived to be disrespecting Pep and the club before even setting foot inside the Etihad, it wouldn’t sit well within the existing ethos and spirit in the City dressing room.
Lest we forget that this is a team still 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League, despite today’s 4-3 reversal at Anfield.
It was hilarious hearing Sky Sports News this evening, desperately emphasising that if United beat Stoke tomorrow night, City’s lead will be ‘just’ 12 points.
So that’s ‘just’ another four defeats – plus at least a draw considering City’s goal difference advantage – for Sanchez’s prospective employers to play catch up.
Of course United will claim it as a massive coup if the Arsenal striker opts for Old Trafford – and why wouldn’t they?
It’s their prerogative, just as it was when City declined the opportunity to pursue Paul Pogba two summers ago, because of his exorbitant financial demands.
If United sign Sanchez it won’t change the course of this season’s Premier League, nor one suspects, will it massively disadvantage City in the coming seasons.
City will source another top quality striker in the summer to complement Aguero and Jesus, as well as reinforcing other key areas in central defence, defensive midfield and at left back.
City may yet buy in this window. Who knows, they could yet roll out the blue carpet for Sanchez, if he is a man of honour, but it's doubtful to say the least.
All should be revealed in the next 48 hours.
By David Walker