Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is reportedly ‘deeply frustrated’ with Arsenal over their delay in offering the Englishman a new contract, and the club’s lack of movement could see the midfielder leave the Emirates Stadium in this summer’s transfer window.
The 23-year-old is about to enter the final 12 months of his contract with the Gunners.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will reportedly tell Arsenal he is ready to quit the club this summer, rather than sign a new contract. The versatile England international could generate interest from Premier League trio Liverpool, Manchester City and champions Chelsea.
A report from Jonathan Northcroft of the Sunday Times revealed how Oxlade-Chamberlain “has been weighing up his future while on holiday and his inclination is that a move would be best if he is to deliver on his rich potential.”
Northcroft also detailed Liverpool’s interest: “Oxlade-Chamberlain, 23, is a key target for Liverpool, where Jurgen Klopp is a confirmed admirer of his energy, explosiveness and ability to perform a variety of attacking roles.”
The Gunners are interested in offering Oxlade-Chamberlain a new contract. However, the player is said to be deeply frustrated by Arsenal’s lack of action on doing so, according to John Cross of the Daily Mirror.
Cross noted how the player with just one year left on his contract expected to be offered a new deal by now. Meanwhile, Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph reported how the Gunners have been planning fresh terms worth £100,000 per week for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
As Wilson also pointed out, the absence of a contract offer isn’t the only issue facing Oxlade-Chamberlain at Arsenal. There is also the matter of where the 23-year-old fits in the team.
Wilson wrote: “Liverpool would be willing to play him in the centre but there is deeper competition at Arsenal, with Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey having finished the season in those two positions and Mohamed Elneny and Francis Coquelin also pushing for more game time.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain has long expressed a desire to operate in central midfield for the Gunners. It’s where manager Arsene Wenger also sees the former Southampton man’s future.
Even so, Wenger has most often played Oxlade-Chamberlain wide during his six years in north London. Positions on the flanks suit a player with direct pace, a solid work rate and underrated delivery from wide areas.
Those qualities were obvious when Oxlade-Chamberlain thrived as a wing-back during the final two months of the 2016/17 season, after Wenger had switched the Gunners to a 3-4-2-1 formation.
It’s not to say the player hasn’t impressed centrally. Oxlade-Chamberlain was superb as a playmaker from the middle when Arsenal beat Southampton 5-0 away in the FA Cup fourth round, en route to winning the famous trophy a record 13th time in 2017.
Oxlade-Chamberlain showcased a terrific range of passing from central areas, but it was a short-lived cameo in the position he prefers. Injuries and inconsistency have done more to stunt Oxlade-Chamberlain’s Arsenal career than where he plays.
The €26m-rated England international scored twice and registered seven assists in 29 Premier League appearances last season.