There are many contract situations at Arsenal which are in a state of confusion. Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and the manager himself, Arsene Wenger, have neither committed nor refused new deals, sending the club and the fans into limbo as to whether the club’s three key men will stay. But, another player which has been coy on his future and has been linked with a move away is Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The Ox has improved this season at Arsenal, most notably during Arsenal’s worst period in the last couple of months, providing a rare bright spark to a bleak run for the Gunners. Injury to Aaron Ramsey and a suspension to Granit Xhaka meant he was shifted into central midfield and has since played his best football of the season.
Two wins in their last seven has left Arsenal outside the top four and with hopes of an FA Cup semi-final to try and save their season. At this rate, their focus should turn to tying down players to new contracts and Chamberlain is one which has transformed his fortunes to a first-team regular. With less than 18 months left on his current contract, it’s another make or break situation.
Robin Van Persie, Cesc Fabregas, Samir Nasri, Alex Song and Gael Clichy. All just a few who had run down their contracts to the last year and forced their way out. His time at Arsenal has been plagued with injuries and failing to reach his potential since joining in 2011. Yet, his best performances, notably in Europe against AC Milan in 2012 and away to Bayern Munich in 2014, have been as a deep-lying midfielder and having been re-installed in that position, he’s earning plaudits once more.
In their capitulation in their 5-1 hammering from Bayern Munich this past week, Chamberlain broke Neymar’s record for most dribbles in a Champions League game (10). He’s always brave on the ball, looking to be direct and dictate the game. Especially following the long-term absence of Santi Cazorla and poor-form of Mesut Ozil, the Gunners have missed someone to set up attacks from deep and control the midfield.
He’s already achieved his highest goal tally in a campaign for Arsenal with six in 19 starts. In 22 league games he’s scored the same as David Silva (2), additionally, he’s completed more take-ons (70.15%) and made more assists than Riyad Mahrez and Dele Alli (4). Chamberlain has done more than Ozil to earn a new deal, certainly this season and in being part of Arsenal’s English quota, makes him even more vital for Arsenal to retain the services of.
He would attract a host of top clubs with Manchester City and Everton recently suggested to be admiring the youth graduate from Southampton. Adaptable as a wide man or preferably central player, he is versatile and young meaning clubs would be mad not to at least look at latching onto procrastination from Arsenal.
What’s best for Chamberlain? Well, first team football can be guaranteed at Arsenal with his continued progression, regression of his team-mates and players such as Ozil and Sanchez being coy on staying themselves. He can make his mark in that centre midfield spot and even assert his place in the England squad in that same role. However, if Arsenal don’t reassure him or offer him an improved deal soon, he can’t be blamed to browse offers elsewhere and show Arsenal what they would be missing.