An Argument for Why Barcelona Must Not Sell Alexis Sanchez

Rik Sharma@@riksharma_Featured ColumnistJuly 8, 2014

Alexis Sanchez could leave Barca.
Alexis Sanchez could leave Barca.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Selling Alexis Sanchez may not be a good move by Barcelona, even if they sign Luis Suarez.

Let's get a few things straight. Suarez is a better player than Alexis. Barcelona would be a more threatening team with the Uruguayan striker in the side.

Trying to contain a front line of Neymar, Suarez and Lionel Messi would be nigh-on impossible for most defences.

Alexis doesn't have the same bite, for lack of a better word, that Suarez offers.

In tight spaces, which is often what Barcelona forwards find themselves in, Suarez has the trickery to break loose and make an attacking play.

Alexis can sometimes get crowded out and find it hard to make an impact. But in the last season, he started to come good.

Apart from Lionel Messi, he was the club's top scorer in La Liga with 19 goals. As well as the Argentina star, only Cristiano Ronaldo and Diego Costa scored more.

Alexis notched two more than Karim Benzema, who by all accounts had a fine season for Real Madrid.

Karim Benzema was widely hailed.
Karim Benzema was widely hailed.Martin Meissner/Associated Press

The France striker was widely hailed for his good performances.

For Real's central striker to score less than the Chilean, who mainly featured on the right flank, but to get more credit, is untoward.

Gareth Bale scored 15 goals and again was decreed to have enjoyed a superb opening season in La Liga.

Alexis was generally top notch last term but because Barcelona as a whole were under par, he has suffered because of it.

Pedro, by contrast, has got off lightly after a poorer campaign. One wonders if Barcelona may be better off selling him instead of Alexis.

Pedro was not at his best.
Pedro was not at his best.Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press

It's clear that one of the two would need to leave for Suarez to arrive, because the forward is perfectly cut out to fit on the right channel, coming inside as Messi drops off.

However, Barcelona are proud of their image and prouder still of their academy.

Pedro is a graduate from La Masia and will generally be given more leeway by the club and the fans because he is “one of their own.”

Alexis, only last season, began to win round the supporters with his good performances.

He is versatile, able to play on either flank or through the centre if required.

His performances at the World Cup for Chile were generally outstanding. Perhaps Barcelona are selling him now to capitalise on what will surely be an inflated price tag.

Per the Daily Mail, Barcelona have agreed a £34 million deal with Arsenal for the transfer of Alexis, although they are waiting to see if Juventus will match it.

Alexis scored many important goals last season.
Alexis scored many important goals last season.Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

If Pedro was sold, it’s difficult to imagine anybody paying over £20 million for him. He is a little older than Alexis, 26, while the Chilean is 25.

The other thing Alexis offered the team, which Suarez won’t, is some degree of defensive diligence.

Sure, you wouldn’t find him chasing back and helping out the full-back all the time, but as someone comfortable playing wide he usually fulfilled the standard duties of a winger.

Suarez, playing on the right, is far less likely to come back and help out with any degree of regularity. His bullish nature would see him chasing the ball on occasion, but the inconsistency may not aid an already shaky defence.

So, there is an argument for keeping Alexis at Barcelona, even if it hinges more on selling Pedro than not signing Suarez.