Speaking exclusively to Football FanCast, Chris Kirkland has insisted that Arsenal would never have sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain had he remained fully fit.
The England international joined the Gunners way back in the summer of 2011 from Southampton, for a reported fee of £15m. The versatile ace ended up playing 198 times for the north Londoners, scoring 20 goals and providing a further 32 assists.
Niggling injury problems always seemed to prove to be a hurdle for Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Arsene Wenger eventually waved goodbye to the 27-year-old for £35m when Liverpool came calling in 2017.
Now, Kirkland has insisted that issues with injuries were the only reason that Arsenal cashed in on him, and that he remains a huge fan of the player even now.
Speaking to FFC’s James Beavis, he said: “We’ve seen him score goals and obviously had some horrendous luck with injuries. I mean, if he was fit, Arsenal would never have sold him for one thing you know. They sold him because he couldn’t stay fit. But for me he’s an exceptional player and I’d love to see him stay fit.”
As was the case at Arsenal, Oxlade-Chamberlain just can’t seem to stay away from injuries. It’s hard to believe that he’s now 27, given that it still feels like he’s a ‘young player’ with so much more time and room to grow.
The English ace of course picked up an awful cruciate ligament injury in a Champions League game for Liverpool against AS Roma that really disrupted his progress at Anfield, and it really is a case of ‘what if’ with him.
Had he been fully fit and firing at Arsenal, and had the Gunners also showed signs of progress on the pitch, then Oxlade-Chamberlain could still be playing for the north Londoners now instead of their Premier League rivals.