Premier League champions Chelsea are set to reignite their interest in Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer.
According to a report in The Mirror, the Blues are prepared to join the race for the 23-year-old English International. The report states that despite holding talks with the club, they are yet to offer him an extension on his current deal, which runs until the summer of 2018.
In April it was said that Arsenal were willing to offer the former Southampton winger a new deal worth around £100,000-a-week, in order to keep him at the Emirates and fend off any potential suitors. However, that offer doesn’t seem to have arrived since then.
As a result, Chelsea are now looking to compete with the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Liverpool for his signature. The Blues have been heavily linked with the winger over the past two summer transfer windows and now seem to have reignited their interest.
As a young, experienced, home-grown player, Chamberlain would no doubt be an asset for any Premier League side and Chelsea would be no different. He could provide competition to the likes of Pedro, Willian, Hazard and even the wingbacks Moses and Alonso thanks to his versatility.
At 23, he would be a long term option for Chelsea and as he has only a year left on his current contract, his transfer fee wouldn’t take too much out of the Blues’ coffers. They can also match the wages that Arsenal are willing to pay and even better, offer him Champions League football.
The ‘Ox’, as he is popularly known, made 45 appearances across all competitions over the course of the recently concluded campaign, out of which he started only 27. He has previously expressed his desire to feature more often and refused to rule out a transfer in order to get regular minutes.
He said in October: “I do want to get more game time. There comes a time in your career where you have to re-evaluate things and think, Is that going to be here or elsewhere? I’m at a stage now where I definitely want to be playing and [so I am] pushing [the manager] to play me, getting feedback and if I’m not playing, finding out why I’m not playing.”
Earlier this month is was reported that Chamberlain would snub advances from Liverpool, in order to try and prolong his stay at the club. The Reds were leading the race to sign the Englishman and if he fails to agree a deal with the club, they may still have a chance.
Liverpool have been rumoured to be keen admirers of the youngster and would no doubt add a significant amount of quality to Jurgen Klopp’s squad and also facilitate some healthy competition. His versatility is also an asset that Jurgen Klopp would value highly.
However, after the imminent arrival of Mohamed Salah from AS Roma, it remains to be seen whether Liverpool keep on pursuing the Portsmouth-born attacker. Apart from Chelsea, they may also have to compete with Manchester United and Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho was interested in the player even from his time at Chelsea, while Manchester United were one of the teams pursuing him in 2011, before he ultimately decided to join Arsenal. The Red Devils are currently in the hunt for a winger and Alex could fit the bill perfectly.
Januzaj and Rooney are edging closer to joining Ibrahimovic out the exit at Old Trafford and as a result, it would free up space in the dressing room and funds as well. He would also serve as a cheaper alternative to Ivan Perisic, who has heavily been linked with a move to United this summer.
He will definitely be looking to prove a point and show that he can stay fit and hold down a regular spot in a top Champions League team and the coming season will be especially important as it will determine whether he is included in England’s 2018 World Cup squad.
He has played nearly 130 Premier League games and spent most of his career in the English top flight so he would have an ample amount of experience in dealing with the rigours of the English game and his versatility allows him to play in a number of positions in midfield.
While he is by no means a finished product, his talent is undoubted and there is room for massive growth. Conte, Mourinho and Klopp all like some fire within their players and those who give everything to the club’s cause and Chamberlain is known to wear his heart on his sleeve.
He will no shortage of suitors and a will be wary that the next step he takes for his career will be a crucial one. At 23, he has most of his career ahead of him. But these are his best years and time is running out for him to fulfill his vast potential. There is little time left to grow from ‘top class talent’ to ‘top class player’ and as things stand, this growth will likely take place away from the Emirates.