Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed that he will consider a move away from Arsenal in the not too distant future if his game time does not increase.
Speaking during Sky Sports’ Goals on Sunday show, the attacking midfielder discussed his role at Arsenal at the moment and, although he stopped short of saying ‘play me or I go’, he was fairly clear in his message to Arsene Wenger:
“I would be lying to say it hasn’t crossed my mind that I need more game time,
“As a footballer you want to play every game, and I’m not happy when I’m not playing, as is everyone on the bench.
“There is going to come a time in my career, and I think I’m approaching it, when I do need to get more regular football but my focus is completely and utterly on playing for Arsenal and breaking into the team when I get the opportunity.
“I love being at Arsenal. It’s a great club, a great team and I have a lot of faith in the team. I just want to keep focusing on that but there is that in my mind where I want to get more game time.
“There comes a time in your career sometimes when you have to re-evaluate and think, ‘Is that going to be here or elsewhere?’
“I’m not there at the moment, I’m fully focused on this season and playing my part. When you get to the end of the season, just like when managers re-evaluate their team, players re-evaluate their personal situations as well.
“I will do that at the end of the season and see what is happening.”
Yes and no. Oxlade-Chamberlain has every right to be concerned about his lack of game time, but has he done much to deserve any? That’s open to debate, but with Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil starting XI certainties as long as they’re fit, that only leaves one slot open for ‘The Ox’, who has frequently lost out to the in-form Alex Iwobi.
As the numbers (via Squawka) show, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s return has steadily declined. The 23-year-old’s peak appears to have been during 2014/15 – when he played the most minutes – whilst his most alarming return has been the current one.
Ticking both the young and English boxes, Oxlade-Chamberlain will not be short of suitors should 2017 be his time to move on. Indeed, over the summer just gone, the Mirror aligned the pacey attacker with a move back to Southampton, which is one that would make some sense for the player, so long as he doesn’t see a homecoming as an admission of his switch to the Gunners not working out.
As well as the Saints, Liverpool and Chelsea were tentatively linked with him, although it remains to be seen whether they will remain interested. It looks as though ‘Chambo’ will have to move down a notch, and with the gap closing between mid-table and the European battlers ever-closing, such a scenario is not as unappealing as it once was.