Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool: Bad news for the Gunners
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool: A deal that brings further bad news to the Arsenal fans, Chamberlain leaving Emirates?
According to the latest reports, Liverpool has reached a pre-contract agreement with Arsenal to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Liverpool is rumoured to be paying around 35 million pounds as transferring money for the 23 years old England international who has only one year left on his Arsenal contract.
Problems are compounding for Arsenal every day. Fans unrest and protests against Wenger has reached a whole new level. Star players like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil are yet to agree to contract extensions and there is an ever increasing uncertainty over their futures. Arsenal has lost 5 of their last 8 league games and is currently 9 points off the 4th place with 8 games to go and is certain to face a stiff challenge to qualify for Europe next season. No official statements from the Arsenal board about whether Arsene Wenger will continue as the manager is creating obfuscation and unrest among the fans. The relationship between the players and the fans is worse than ever as is evident from the fact that the Arsenal fans chanted “You’re not fit to wear the shirt” and refused to give the ball away to Hector Bellerin during a throw in during Arsenal’s 0-3 defeat to Crystal Palace.
Chamberlain, who previously lamented this season for the lack of starts, had already expressed doubt over his future with Arsenal. While the recent news surely fuels the speculation, if it happens, it would be a big loss for Arsenal. He has got 40 appearances this season with 6 goals and 6 assists.
The Southampton FC graduate, who was signed by Arsenal on 8th August 2011 is yet to fulfil his potential for the North London side. Always been a peripheral figure for the Arsenal side due to injury and competitions, he has made a total of 188 appearances in 6 seasons for the Gunners scoring 20 goals. This talented Englishman can play in the wings and also through the middle.
He is a good dribbler who likes to cut inside and provide a cross or shoot or pick up a killer pass. Along with that, he has great pace and physicality that make him very difficult to stop when he is operating from the flanks. When used by Wenger as a central holding midfielder, he has shown his worth with his decent work rate and ability to play long balls or hit the opposition through a quick counter. Having got a good technical sense, he can also play behind the striker as a number 10 and has got the quality to build up play brilliantly.
This season, he has played with more consistency than ever. Even during matches where Arsenal got collected humiliated like in that 1-5 defeat to Bayern at the Emirates, he was one of those very few 2-3 players in the entire team, trying to hit Bayern with his pace, physicality, passing and work rate. Among the British core who are yet to extend contracts with Arsenal like Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott, Chamberlain looked like the most talented with the potential to become world class under the right conditions. At only 23, if he leaves, he is likely to end up just as an ex-Arsenal player and not a legend.
Coming to the transfer fee, which is rumoured to be around 35 million pounds, Arsenal is winning commercially. A 23-year-old, with 1 year left on contract, reluctant to sign an extension, 35 million pounds is a good bargain from Arsenal point of view. On the other hand, Liverpool is getting a hugely talented player with the potential to become world class under the rightful guidance of Jurgen Klopp.
Liverpool’s forward line, already consisting of Sadio Mane, Coutinho, Firmino, Sturridge and Lallana provides lots of different options while going forward. The addition of Chamberlain to this group puts the icing on the cake as he brings with him the skill, work rate, physicality and above all experience of playing in the premier league for more than 6 years. So, Liverpool’s bargain also seems justified, but only future will say how Chamberlain progresses at Anfield.
Reports suggest that there is going to be a huge change in Arsenal’s training staff and scouting system, along with the possibility of Wenger extending his contract at the Emirates. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain’s possible departure can be one of those mass exodus waiting to happen at the North London side, with the futures of Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, Kieran Gibbs, Per Mertesacker, Aaron Ramsey all hugely uncertain. All assembled together, this looks like the toughest time for the North London side in the last 20 years.