Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been linked with a sensational return to Arsenal in January.
The 28-year-old left the Emirates Stadium on deadline day in the 2017 summer transfer window, sealing a £35million move to Liverpool where he has won a Premier League title as well as a Champions League winner’s medal.
However, numerous injury setbacks have stopped Oxlade-Chamberlain from being a regular in Jurgen Klopp’s strongest line-up and he’s fallen further down the pecking order following Curtis Jones’ emergence.
As a result, there’s talk of the versatile midfielder heading back to north London in the new year in the search of more game time.
According to The Sun, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is considering the possibility of re-signing his former teammate in the next transfer window for two reasons.
One is to help develop the Gunners’ young stars, including the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Gabriel Martinelli and Martin Odegaard.
The other is to ensure the north London outfit avoid a potential midfield crisis, with Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny both likely to depart in January for the Africa Cup of Nations and Granit Xhaka unlikely to be rushed back following his extended period on the sidelines with a knee injury.
In addition, the report states that Arsenal are looking to sign Oxlade-Chamberlain on an initial six-month loan deal with the possibility of making his stay permanent at the end of the season.
The reaction to this rumour amongst the fanbase has been mixed so far, but there are some pros to consider.
Not only would Chamberlain provide cover in central midfield whilst Partey and Elneny are away on international duty, but he could also help solve a main problem for Arsenal – goals from the middle of the park.
Last season Elneny, Partey, Dani Ceballos and Xhaka managed four goals between them across all competitions, whilst the more creative players such as Willian, Emile Smith Rowe and Martin Odegaard managed seven in total.
To the latter pair’s credit, they have managed three goals between them so far this season, so maybe Arteta’s mission which began almost a year ago is getting across.
“It’s very clear. If you say ‘can they do it?’ it’s a question mark. Have they done it in the past? The answer is no,” said Arteta back in December 2020. “We haven’t had any goals from midfield, it’s not something that happened [just] this year, it happened in other years and is something that has to be addressed.
“To change the qualities and characteristics of players is very, very difficult.
“A big team needs players in midfield who score goals. They need central defenders that score goals from set-pieces to add to that.
“If you start to lose those margins, you start to lose points, you start to be away from the top team, this is not any science.”
Whilst Oxlade-Chamberlain has never been a prolific goalscorer from midfield throughout his career, he did weigh in with a respectable eight during Liverpool’s title-winning season and operated as a No. 9 in a pre-season fixture earlier in the summer.
That was a role he appeared to enjoy, but it’s his drive to score goals when playing in his preferred midfield role that may be of interest to Arteta and Arsenal technical director Edu.
“I feel like we create a lot in and around that area, even when I play in midfield in that position, a little bit advanced, I feel like I can score goals,” he told LFCTV. “That’s something that I definitely want to bring to the team if I play there.”
As previously reported by football.london , Arsenal will target a midfielder in the January window and it could very well be one that fits the profile of Oxlade-Chamberlain if the goalscoring issue persists.
Although, having spent £142million in the summer, funds could be limited in the new year – unless the Gunners are able to make a big sale.
Therefore a loan deal for Oxlade-Chamberlain, who would also count as a homegrown player, might just turn out to be the best scenario for all parties involved.
Source by Football London