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Arsenal legend Thierry Henry has admitted he’s concerned the Gunners’ failure to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League may make it hard for the club to keep Alexis Sanchez.
Liverpool’s win over Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Sunday means Arsenal will not take part in European football’s elite club competition in 2017-18. With speculation rife over the future of Sanchez, Henry told Sky Sports (h/t Lewis Winter of the Daily Express) the club’s underachievement will make it a challenge to convince the player to stay this summer.
“I hope that he’s going to stay but he wants to be in the Champions League, he wants to be in a club that is competing at least and it hasn’t happened recently (at Arsenal),” the Frenchman said. “I’m talking about in the Champions League and Premier League because he won the FA Cup already with Arsenal.”
Henry, who is the Gunners’ all-time record goalscorer, also said it is “vital” Arsenal keep hold of the Chile international.
If he were to depart in the upcoming transfer window, Sanchez would leave a huge void at the point of the Arsenal attack.
But it’s far from certain the 28-year-old will be at the Emirates Stadium next season, as he only has one year remaining on his contract with the Gunners.
According to Fabrizio Romano of the Guardian, champions Chelsea have made Sanchez their top target in the upcoming window, although Paris Saint-Germain, Inter Milan and Juventus are also said to be keen to bring him in.
As Henry notes, not playing in Europe’s biggest club competition will be a blow for Arsenal as they seek to keep their star men around. Given Sanchez is in the prime of his career and doesn’t seem close to signing an extension, at this stage it would be a surprise to see him don Gunners colours next term.