'Alexis a luxury Arsenal cannot afford' - Wright questions Chilean's role in big games

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The former Gunners striker remains a big fan of the forward, but feels Arsene Wenger's side may be better equipped to handle tough tests without him

Alexis Sanchez could be considered “a luxury you cannot afford” when Arsenal play big games, says Ian Wright.

The Chilean forward is a star turn at Emirates Stadium and reached the 30-goal mark for the Gunners last season for the first time in his career.

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His relationship with the club has become rather strained since then, with the decision not to commit to fresh terms seeing him push for a move elsewhere over the summer.

Arsenal have taken to starting him on the bench in Premier League fixtures since deadline day, with Wright of the opinion that a 0-0 draw with reigning champions Chelsea on Sunday, which also saw Mesut Ozil miss out through injury, proves that Arsene Wenger’s side can compete with the best when removing their game-changers from the side.

“Everyone knows how highly I rate Sanchez and I’d like to see him play as much as possible before moving on,” the former Gunners striker told The Sun.

“But you do wonder if he is a luxury you cannot afford in games like the ones against Liverpool and Chelsea.

“And I’m not just saying this because of their goalless draw at the Bridge - I’ve thought this way for a while.

Ian Wright Alexis Sanchez Arsenal luxury

“Sanchez will get you wonder goals, like he did against Cologne in the Europa League, but he does lose the ball a lot when he cuts inside.

“And that can spell real trouble. You can get away with it against most teams and, like I said, the good far outweighs the bad stuff with Sanchez.”

He added: “It’s a pity Danny Welbeck suffered what looks another bad injury because him and Alexandre Lacazette were starting to build a good understanding.

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“But if Arsenal play with the same guts, character and belief that we saw against Chelsea, maybe the future is not as bleak as we feared.”

Sanchez missed out on a move to Manchester City over the summer, with a £60 million offer on the table as the deadline passed.

He has entered the final 12 months of his current contract so unless he agrees to an extension or is offloaded during the January window, the 28-year-old will walk away as a free agent in 2018.

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