Rumour: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain wants to leave Arsenal sparking bidding war between three Premier League teams
A contract until 2018 does not strengthen Arsenal's hand if they plan to negotiate a transfer fee
What’s the story?
According to The Times, Arsenal star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain wants to leave the Emirates and his wish to leave could see as many as three Premier League clubs get into a bidding war to get his signature. The 23-year-old midfielder, who can also play as a winger or a wing-back, is currently on vacation and he feels that he needs to move away from Arsenal to get more first-team opportunities.
The report states that Liverpool could be in pole position to sign him with Jurgen Klopp being a huge admirer of the England international’s potential and versatility to play across the midfield line. Both Chelsea and Manchester City are also keeping an eye on his situation.
The youngster’s contract runs out in 2018 and if the Gunners do not extend his contract, they risk losing him for free next season. And without Champions League football, Arsenal may not be able to convince him to stay if he sets his mind on leaving.
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Oxlade-Chamberlain had joined the club back in 2011 when the Gunners paid £12m to sign him as an 18-year-old from Southampton. The fee was set to rise to £15m after including add-ons.
The club had offered him a new deal but the player and his representatives were unhappy with Arsenal’s initial offer, deeming it oo low for a player of his talent.
The heart of the matter
In spite of impressing the manager on a number of occasions, he is yet to break into the starting lineup and seal a spot on the teamsheets every week. His injuries have also not helped but Oxlade-Chamberlain has made a number of substitute appearances or does not last the 90 minutes often when he does start games.
But Arsene Wenger’s switch to a 3-4-3 formation has revived Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Arsenal career to a certain extent. Having been deployed as a right wing-back, he put in some good performances towards the end of the season, especially in Arsenal’s triumphant FA Cup campaign.
Now the player feels he must get game time elsewhere, especially since this is a World Cup year. Oxlade-Chamberlain came on as a substitute in the World Cup qualifiers against Scotland and made an immediate impact, scoring within two minutes.
A move to another club where he would get more opportunities to start games could help impress England manager Gareth Southgate to nail down a starting spot.
Wenger has been adamant that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future lies in midfield even though his explosive pace and trickery is better suited to a role on the flank. The player is also keen to play in midfield rather than on the wing.
If this is the case, selling him would make sense as Wenger has enough options to play in central midfield. However, the French manager bought him as a teenager with an eye on developing him into a world class player and he may not want to see so many years of hard work go down the drain for a few million pounds.
His contract situation will ensure that he does not command a high price in what is an inflated market for English players. The fact that Wenger is losing out on a homegrown player with a long career ahead of him may prevent him from selling the youngster and agree to a bigger contract.