Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been linked to the likes of Manchester Manchester United and Liverpool, but his name has most commonly appeared in conjunction with Arsenal . Southampton manager Nigel Adkins recently stated in an interview that no official bids had been made for the player, despite the fact that many clubs had expressed their interest. He also made Southampton ’s position clear: the club will not talk to another club regarding Oxlade-Chamberlain unless they are willing to put their cards on the table and make a realistic offer.
Whatever else may be true, it’s clear that Arsenal won’t be able to acquire him on the cheap. Some sources say that Southampton won’t be willing to sell for less than £10-12m and that his contract would come complete with a sell-on clause. Given that he still has two years left on his contract, Southampton aren’t in a position at the moment where they have to sell.
Chamberlain has a lot of good qualities. He’s good with both feet but best with his favoured right. He’s got explosive pace and times his runs well. Unlike Arsenal’s Theo Walcott, I’d also suggest that he tends to make better decisions in the final third. His decisiveness and directness have made him a real asset for the Saints.
It strikes me, however, that now would not be the right time for Arsenal to make a move for Chamberlain. Arsenal fans are desperate to see quality players brought in that can immediately improve their first-team squad – not players who may have an impact two-three years down the line. Chamberlain may be a good player and a top prospect but I’m just not sure if he’s ready to make his mark at the top of the Premier League.
Given his price-tag and Arsenal’s more pressing need to obtain a defender and a striker this summer, now just isn’t the right time to pursue this Saints youngster. Consider it from the perspective of his career: the Championship is a great place to blood young talent and the opportunity to play regular football should not be scoffed at. It’s unclear if Arsenal would be able to offer him the same amount of game time.
It strikes me that Arsenal should wait to see how next season goes. If it’s been a success, then they can go back to adding fresh young talent like Chamberlain to their squad. If not, they’ll need to focus again on bringing established players into their squad. Given that Chamberlain will only have one more year left on his contract next summer (if he doesn’t sign a new one) he’ll also be available for cheaper than he is now. It’s clear to me that now isn’t the right time for Arsenal to pursue this Saints’ youngster.
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