Gary Neville believes Arsenal are in a sad state of affairs with Alexis Sanchez, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Shkodran Mustafi all close to leaving.
Arsene Wenger is already under pressure this season after the Gunners lost two of their first three Premier League games, including a humiliating 4-0 away loss to Liverpool on Sunday.
They could lose a trio of key stars before Thursday’s transfer deadline, with Mustafi chased by Inter and Oxlade-Chamberlain – whose contract has under a year to run – reportedly preferring a move to Liverpool over Chelsea after rejecting a new deal.
Sanchez, meanwhile, could join Manchester City, who have reportedly had a £50million offer rejected, but may come back with a fresh bid amid speculation Arsenal want winger Raheem Sterling to be part of the deal.
Manchester United icon Neville believes the Gunners’ situation is grim and fears negativity could impact their chances of success this season, even though it has just begun.
“After Sunday, a lot of eyes will be on Arsenal,” Neville said to Sky Sports. “If they were to lose two or three players without replacing them then they could be overwhelmed with negativity at the club.
“I saw it a lot last season and didn’t enjoy it. Now they’ve got Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Shkodran Mustafi and potentially Alexis Sanchez leaving.
“Arsenal’s transfer window could be more defined by what they lose rather than what they sign. From Arsenal’s point of view, I’m a little bit sad because I didn’t want them to be a story and I wanted the questions about Wenger to fade away because they are a great club and he is a great manager.
“I’m concerned that if the business isn’t good then they could be consumed by negativity.”
1 – 2016/17 was Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best return for both goals (6) and assists (11) for Arsenal in all competitions. Scouted. pic.twitter.com/Xz8wMpow8j
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 28, 2017
Neville believes Sterling is too inconsistent to be considered a worthy replacement for Sanchez, despite scoring twice for City already this season.
He said: “My view on the potential swap deal of Sanchez for Raheem Sterling is that it may get them money but it is not a transfer that makes them better as Sterling is still too inconsistent.
“Sanchez would certainly strengthen Manchester City because of his finishing, which they’ve struggled with, and he plays in the spirit of Pep Guardiola when he’s on his game.
“I think Sanchez is obviously a player Pep has wanted and I could see it going through. Arsene Wenger has tried to keep him but I think when a player’s negativity gets to the point when it’s so overwhelming that it’s affecting the whole team then you have to sell.
“For me, it is a sad indictment that a player who optimises hard work and passion could switch off for the last six months because I don’t think it reflects his true character.”
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