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Southampton: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be Aribo upgrade

Southampton, in an effort to bolster their attacking prospects, could be set to bring back an old favourite to the club…

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Football Insider reported earlier this month that the Saints had been offered the chance to bring him back to the south coast.

Speaking to GIVEMESPORT, journalist Pete O’Rourke subsequently gave his verdict on any potential deal, suggesting the player would be keen on a move.

“I’m sure he would be interested in going there. I think Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be weighing up his next move.

“He’ll be looking to go to a club where he’ll be guaranteed regular first-team football and you would imagine he would get that out of Southampton, maybe more than he would at a bigger club.

“So, I think for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain it’s a key stage in his career now.

“He needs to pick his next destination carefully and get it right because he wants to be playing football and hopefully avoiding injuries because, on his day, he’s still a quality player.

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“So, you’re hoping to get back to that form which helped him earn that big money move to Liverpool and become a regular in the England squads.”

Aribo upgrade

Whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain has struggled for fitness, his German manager has crafted one of the more well-balanced midfields in the world, pushing his maverick playstyle to cameo roles.

In the Premier League alone, since 2017, he has played over 800 minutes of football only twice.

This will frustrate the 29-year-old, who although he has a sprawling trophy cabinet to show for his time on Merseyside, has not been the driving force he would have hoped to be.

A return to the south coast could allow him to be just that, and under new boss Nathan Jones, play a starring role in their hopeful escape from relegation.

The £120k-per-week maestro will be hoping that a run in the side could see him recapture the form from his final season at Arsenal, and his debut season at Anfield, where he recorded nine and ten goal contributions respectively.

Although Joe Aribo seemed to begin life under Ralph Hasenhuttl well, with just two goals in 17 games across all competitions, his lack of offensive output likely contributed greatly to the Austrian’s dismissal.

In fact, he has offered far more defensively than what was surely expected of him, which could have contributed to his toothless nature this campaign.

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The Nigerian ranks in the top 3% for tackles, the top 9% for interceptions, and the top 4% for clearances, via FBref. Those numbers are certainly incredibly impressive.

However, just in front of the more defensive James Ward-Prowse and Romeo Lavia, Jones will want a true attacking presence.

With Oxlade-Chamberlain, who instead ranks in the top 1% for total shots, non-penalty goals and touches in the attacking penalty area, he could provide this goal threat the Saints have been lacking.