Does anybody do a transfer saga quite as well as Arsenal?
It doesn’t appear so given the club’s lengthy and unenviable track record of protracted, embarrassing and ultimately damaging departures down the years.
Of course, we all view the football world through the prism of our own club and tend to view our own experiences as unique or exceptional. But even given that perspicacious view of matters, Arsenal do tend to make a real hash of things.
Take Thierry Henry, Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Ashley Cole as fuel for your fire. On each occasion our star turns were coveted, pursued, and ultimately secured by other clubs, with only two of those players having the decency to move overseas, with the rest preferring to thumb their noses at us and join a Premier League rival.
It doesn’t seem to matter how much affection we shower our players with, how many songs we serenade them with, how many memes we produce adorned with their visage, ultimately we just can’t make them stay – and that hurts.
Alexis Sanchez is just the latest in a long line of players seeking the richer rewards of pastures new, riches the Gunners don’t seem able to provide despite their stature and history as a club.
Perhaps it is that which hurts us all the most. Arsenal; one of the classiest clubs in world football, steeped in tradition, history, and excellence, time and again taken for a ride by wantaway footballers who crave bigger and better.
Like the proverbial nice guy, we seem to finish last – our sweetheart swept away by the swarthy good looks of the village bad boy while our sensible comb over and ironed shirt settle for second best.
While there is no shame in being the classiest club in the league and sticking to a set of cherished principles, it rankles that we find ourselves in a position where we are powerless to stop one of our prized assets from leaving once again in a way that disadvantages us as a club.
So what should we do with our beloved Chilean?
In truth, if we were going to sell him, we should have done it last summer, when a cool £60million was dangling before us like the tastiest of carrots. And while we made some last-minute, half-hearted attempts to offload the 29-year-old, the haphazard way we went about it meant we were left, once more, with egg on our face as the window closed and the move was cancelled.
Now, our position is weakened and we are left scrambling around for the best deal we can muster, in the hope that a few pennies from the sale might be reinvested in a player who can come in and rescue the last three or four months of our season.
Some take the view that we should use Sanchez to help fire us to Europa League glory, thereby securing our passage back into the Champions League, while others say we should sell him while we still have the chance.
Personally, I think we can make the best of either scenario but, were we to recoup £20million from the sale of Sanchez, we could at least begin some sort of rebuilding process early, instead of waiting until the final hours of pre-season to snap up whoever is left on our Plan C transfer list.
Where all fans agree is that whatever path we choose to go down, we must do so as quickly as possible so that we can avoid endless days and weeks of distraction and ill-feeling around the club. As unlikely as it is to happen, Arsene needs to move decisively, lest we find ourselves well and truly adrift of the Premier League top four and unable to make any meaningful attempt at bridging the gap.
Perhaps then, we might just get the chance to pen our own final chapter of this particular saga, instead of allowing ignominy the last word.