Should Man City target Alexis Sanchez place trust in Arsene Wenger and stay at Arsenal?

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Alexis Sanchez has stated his desire to play in the Champions League and says he is waiting for Arsenal to make a decision over his future.

The 28-year-old Chile striker appears to have informed Arsenal what he wants to do with a year left on his current deal and with the Gunners two-decade run in the Champions League now at an end, it is clear Sanchez cannot achieve his ambition with them next season.

With no agreement reached over a new deal, a list of potential suitors is likely to be long and could include Manchester City.

Our two expert football writers debate as to whether or not Sanchez should place his trust in Arsene Wenger and stay at Arsenal or leave the club this summer.

Should he stay or should he go?

YES – MATT MONAGHAN

A desire to pursue Champions League football is natural for a player of Alexis Sanchez’s supreme talents.

Yet compelling and financially-lucrative reasons to stick about at Emirates Stadium are not hard to find. They could yet see the man retained who notched 24 goals and 10 assists in the Premier League last term.

Next season will be the Gunners’ first outside Europe’s top competition since 1996/97. But this has not stopped manager Arsene Wenger from exhibiting genuine ambition.

France striker Alexandre Lacazette has arrived from Lyon after a campaign which featured 37 goals in 45 appearances. Intriguingly for Sanchez, this is a player who does not just exhibit his intelligence in his ability to sniff out chances.

He is a technically gifted and aware star for whom the nippy Sanchez would love playing alongside.

A joie de vivre – enjoyment of life – has returned to Wenger’s planning. With Monaco creator Thomas Lemar another target, the Gunners attack will be heaven for a forward.

Lemar and resident Germany playmaker Mesut Ozil contributed a combined 19 league assists last term. With such a productive supply line, there is every chance the prolific Sanchez would thrive even more.

This is all part of a change in Wenger. For a veteran chastised for his intransigence, April’s shock switch to a 3-4-2-1 formation both earned silverware with the FA Cup and sparked belief 2017/18 could see a genuine title charge mounted for the first time in a decade.

For all the ambition and extravagance exhibited at likely suitors Manchester City, there is still no guarantee of such success there.

The wisest decision for Sanchez is to see out the final year of his contract and assess his options.

At worst, the £50 million (Dh240.4m) transfer fee demanded this summer would end up in his account as a signing-on gift for a valuable free agent. Not bad recompense for wise restraint.

Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil during a training session

NO – CHRIS BAILEY

Since Arsenal left Highbury for the Emirates 11 years ago they have been stuck within a vicious case of deja vu: attractive football encased in fragility, a title challenge that fizzles out soon after the New Year, and their big stars before long getting thoroughly sick of it all.

That pattern is unlikely to be broken next season, and as much as a strong Arsenal side is to the benefit of the Premier League, Alexis Sanchez cannot afford to hang around in hope while in his prime.

He turns 29 in December and while he is still as sprightly as any forward in the league, he could live to regret battling through another mediocre season – relatively speaking – under Arsene Wenger’s watch.

And it’s not as if there is overwhelming evidence of a turnaround on the horizon. Arsenal have a very proud recent history in the FA Cup, of course, but the world’s oldest cup competition is sadly not the accolade it once was.

Ask any Gunners fan – their jubilation over winning the fabled tournament may have been genuine, but there has been a fair amount of teeth-gnashing over the summer when contemplating a season without Champions League football.

Signing Alexandre Lacazette – and whomever may follow – could prove to be like moving a few steps forward on a treadmill.

Manchester United have splurged on Romelu Lukaku and Manchester City were willing to shell out mega money on Kyle Walker. Neither have Chelsea nor Liverpool been thrifty, and while a Tottenham fan may view their club’s inaction this summer as worrying, they have a young core who finished second and can reasonably expect to get better.

Indeed, fifth to first would be a monumental leap even if Arsenal’s title rivals had stood still.

Pep Guardiola’s first season with City was disappointing, but Sanchez would surely be right to place trust in a serial title-winner – and now money-spender – over a manager who has always favoured style points above all else.

Pep Guardiola embraces Alexis Sanchez last season

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Emily Ratajkowski, The Rock, Julia Roberts - Manchester United cross paths with Hollywood celebrities on preseason tour

Sport360 staff 16/07/2017

Manchester United players are global superstars but even the most celebrated athletes can be star-struck.

The Premier League side's preseason tour of the United States kicked off in Los Angeles a.k.a Hollywood so naturally they crossed paths with a few A-list celebrities.

Academy Award winning actress Julia Roberts stopped by at training last week as did Conleth Hill and Ian Glen, stars of the hit television series Game of Thrones.

United cruised to a 5-2 win over LA Galaxy in their first preseason fixture on Saturday and several players then enjoyed some down-time that evening by attending an adidas event. The event that carried the hastag #heretocreate saw the likes of David de Gea, Jesse Lingard, Daley Blind, Ander Herrera and Juan Mata rub shoulders with some of Hollywood's biggest stars. Supermodel Emily Ratajkowski was in the mix along with Academy Award and Grammy winner Jamie Foxx. United will next face Real Salt Lake in on Tuesday.

LA Nights 📍🇺🇸 @adidasfootball X @manchesterunited #heretocreate #williebeamen

A post shared by Jesse Lingard (@jesselingard) on

Straight from the stadium to the street - Manchester United and @adidasfootball light up Hollywood. #HereToCreate

A post shared by Manchester United (@manchesterunited) on

Thanks for stopping by, @dom_monaghan_! #MUTOUR

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Things you get to do while on tour in LA 😎😬🎥🎬 #MUTOUR #JuliaRoberts

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Sharp and strong Marcus Rashford is showing early signs he's ready to lead Man United's attack

Matt Jones 16/07/2017
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All eyes were on big Belgian Romelu Lukaku, but it was explosive teenager Marcus Rashford who made a considerable impact with a brace in Manchester United’s first outing of pre-season.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic released (although manager Jose Mourinho has hinted he may still have a future at Old Trafford) and record club goalscorer Wayne Rooney returning to boyhood club Everton, Lukaku was brought in from the Toffees for big money last week to be United’s new attacking spearhead.

On this showing the £75million man will have to get a lot sharper to become the weapon which caused so much damage with 25 Premier League goals last season.

But given United’s impressive 5-2 victory against the LA Galaxy in California was the first outing for the players, it’s important not to read too much into Lukaku’s debut, who it should be said enjoyed a solid first outing in a red jersey, although the 24-year-old should have opened his United account minutes after coming on at half-time.

Homegrown hero Rashford, though, lent weight to the belief he can be United’s great new striking hope with a brace in an eye-catching 45-minute display.

The 19-year-old’s all-round performance should excite United fans. This wasn’t a typical pre-season opener, with United fast and flowing from the first whistle. The Galaxy are in the midst of the MLS season yet United were on a different planet to them in the first half.

And Rashford was at the heart of their ferocious start, anticipating passes, making adroit runs into space, as well as holding his line so as to not stray offside – something he’s been guilty of in the past.

If you follow Rashford on social media, you’ll know he’s been busy in the gym during the off-season and it was noticeable that he’s beefed up. In one passage of play he dropped deep to the halfway line to receive a pass, holding the ball up in coverage before cleverly turning defender Hugo Arellano, who was forced to haul him down.

It’s no secret that the youngster wants to play as a central striker and he seems to be taking steps to make that happen. He impressively featured in 53 games last season but mainly from the right channel in a three-pronged attack or as one of the three in the 4-2-3-1 formation.

He was criticised for his lack of goals (11, compared to eight in 11 games in a barnstorming breakout 2015/16 campaign) but his detractors didn’t pay much attention to what he did do – making decoy runs, opening up defences by making space for Ibrahimovic and tracking back. Basically learning his trade.

What you saw against the Galaxy was a sharper, focused, hungrier Rashford. His pace often presents him with chances but whereas everything he hit seemed to hit the back of the net in his fledgling season, last term he passed up a lot of opportunities.

He was alert to race onto Jesse Lingard’s pass to calmly stroke home the opening goal after just 115 seconds. He was lethal 18 minutes later too, sweeping past LA ‘keeper Jon Kempin after being teed up by Juan Mata.

The only blot on his outing was a failure to secure the match ball by the break. Rashford beat the offside trap to latch onto Michael Carrick’s lofted pass but with his easiest chance in a one-on-one with Kempin, the stopper smothered his effort.

It is only one game of course, but he seems to have honed his shooting. The spurning of his hat-trick aside, he showed ruthless precision. He was clinical, accurate, deadly. His finishing reminded you of Rooney at his devastating best.

Marcus Rashford and former United captain Wayne Rooney

Mourinho said earlier this year he felt Rashford could surpass Rooney’s United record of 253 goals – which he only set last season after surpassing Sir Bobby Charlton’s previous record of 249 against Stoke in January – if he stays at United for his entire career.

Chris Smalling went further and suggested the teen is the only player who can do it.

That’s a monumental target to set the kid, who despite his bright start to pre-season, faces a tall task to force his way into a central striking role ahead of Lukaku.

But the early indications are that United’s new golden boy has taken his game to a new level. With Rooney and Ibrahimovic now out of the picture, Rashford’s display against Galaxy will have left Mourinho believing the local lad from Wythenshawe can take over the world.

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