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The clubs offering Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a route out of Arsenal this summer

The clubs offering Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a route out of Arsenal this summer

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be on the move this summer with the England midfielder set to reject a new contract with Arsenal to put himself in the shop window for a growing list of suitors keen to offer the 22-year-old a new start away from the Emirates.

Given his struggles to stay fit and find a regular slot in Arsene Wenger’s team — both out wide on the wing or in a more central role in midfield — the identity of some of the clubs interested may be surprising, but who would offer him the greatest opportunity for the game time and guidance to fulfill his potential and get his career back on track?

Chelsea

oxlade-chamberlain chelsea

The Blues are keen to follow-up their previous interest in Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the club’s technical director Michael Emenalo a long-term admirer of the Englishman.

His impact as a match-winner was laid bare when he struck home with the only goal of the Community Shield clash between Chelsea and Arsenal at the start of the season to hand Wenger a rare win against Jose Mourinho.

Where would he play?

Originally seen as a potential replacement for Eden Hazard should the Belgian depart from Stamford Bridge, Oxlade-Chamberlain could also be an interesting addition in midfield for the Blues, who have a distinct lack of players able to break the lines between midfield and attack in their squad at present. The versatile 22-year-old is adept at carrying the ball forward, is a good athlete and a handful for defenders when on form. He isn’t exactly the second-coming of Frank Lampard but he would give Chelsea something different in midfield and provide a more industrious if less-refined take on the winger role to Hazard.

Suitability?

A chance to establish himself at a well-resourced club under a new manager with an impressive track record of improving players in Antonio Conte, a move to Chelsea would be a shock given his Arsenal affiliations but a potentially smart move for the Englishman. Emenalo’s long-standing interest underlines how highly he is thought of behind the scenes at Stamford Bridge however he could stand to become lost in yet another Premier League squad depending on the other player acquisitions overseen by the Nigerian.

Manchester City

An even better resourced club with an even more exciting managerial appointment in Pep Guardiola, Manchester City were linked with a move for Oxlade-Chamberlain in March ahead of the Spaniard’s arrival this summer, as reported by The Times.

With an already aged squad, redevelopment is on the cards at the Etihad with versatile all-rounders preferred to begin restocking the dressing room to suit the needs of their in-coming manager and his radical tactical demands.

Where would he play?

Guardiola was the man who arrived at Bayern Munich in 2013, a club that had won a treble with what seemed to be the most complete and solid squad around, and decided that right-back Philipp Lahm would be best played centrally in what looked to be the most talent-packed midfield in Europe. It’s unwise to try and second-guess what his next big idea could be at the Etihad. However, going by how he sought to shape his players and squads at Barcelona and Bayern, it’s likely that Guardiola would seek to further blur the definitions of more traditional positions on the pitch to find new and innovative ways to control games and take teams apart. As a player capable of being dangerous in both central midfield and out on the wing, Oxlade-Chamberlain appears to have the versatility to become another potential pet project for the Spaniard.

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Suitability?

A similar situation to Chelsea bit with higher stakes. Guardiola is expected to oversee a near total revamp at the Etihad, with the likes of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne already sourced to get the rebuild underway ahead of schedule, and Oxlade-Chamberlain could quickly find himself stuck in rotational limbo, much like his role within Wenger’s squad at Arsenal. The Englishman’s injury record could also be a worry given the Spaniard’s own struggles to keep his players fit due to the intensity of his training methods and tactics.

West Ham

This summer, the Hammers will move into the Olympic Stadium to begin to move toward the upper echelons of English and European football with a home big and grand enough to support such an endeavor.

Signing of a player once regarded as one of the brightest prospects of his generation of Arsenal would fit that ambition perfectly, and West Ham are understood to be one of the clubs monitoring developments over Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future at the Emirates.

Where would he play?

The England international seems ideally suited to a wide roaming role out on the flanks in Slaven Bilic’s side, hustling and bustling around the field, driving at goal and creating chances with his dribbling, crossing and passing. For all the patches on his injury record, Oxlade-Chamberlain is also a fairly combative player for his position.

Suitability?

It would be considered a step down for Oxlade-Chamberlain to move from a club where Champions League football is almost guaranteed (at least under Wenger) to a side still some way away from being in a consistent force in the top six and Europa League, let alone Europe’s premier club competition. He would almost certainly get the games and status he needs to thrive as a key individual at the Olympic Stadium, however, depending on injuries of course.

Southampton

Could a return to the South Coast be on the cards? After leaving Southampton in 2011, then a League One club, a move back to become a part of the Saints as a Premier League side under Ronald Koeman would be another transfer regarded as a step back by those uncertain of his urgency to leave the Emirates.

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Where would he play?

Koeman often reshuffles his midfield pack with Steven Davis used in central midfield or more attacking and wider positions as required by his manager and Oxlade-Chamberlain would fit in at the club as a similarly adaptable option, though the Englishman would hope one used as a centrepiece rather than an accessory.

Suitability?

Besides being a romantic home-coming, going back to Southampton would offer Oxlade-Chamberlain a similar platform to West Ham but outside of London and with less upheaval off the pitch. He might find less noise and distractions outside of the capital (not that he has fallen prey to such disruptive influences during his career so far) but would he be granted the same kind of stage to prove himself and gain the profile to become an England regular at St. Mary’s? If he were to become a new hometown hero for the Saints on his return, would he care?

Manchester United

Michael Emenalo wasn’t the only figure at Chelsea keen on bringing Oxlade-Chamberlain to Stamford Bridge. According to The Sun, Jose Mourinho also shared an interest in the Englishman, and if the Arsenal player is available, and the out-of-work Portuguese manager does take charge at Old Trafford, well, putting two and two together…

Where would he play?

Hard-working, direct and dexterous, Oxlade-Chamberlain would challenge Jesse Lingard and Juan Mata on for games on the right if he could remain fit. The Englishman might even be able to add some much-needed impetus to United’s often lack-lustre midfield although the lack of a solid anchorman to protect the back line suggests the wing might be a more logical position.

Suitability?

A player good at carrying the ball forward and taking risks might not fit into the Louis van Gaal era but so long as he his desire to be ambitious in possession is matched by his work ethic and tactical discipline, Oxlade-Chamberlain could find a function under Mourinho. United also need reinforcements out wide. However, with more money set to be thrown at their squad this summer for yet another re-do at Old Trafford, the risk of being lost in transition may well be higher without the rewards of regular entry into the top four or the title race.

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