Arsenal are approaching a difficult week when it comes to making a decision on several key players. There is a need to sell players in order to decrease the squad size, but they want to keep hold of three key men in the final year of their current contracts. Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are all approaching the end of their deals and have shown no indication of signing new ones. The first two are regular starters and would be difficult to replace at this stage of the window, but they should consider selling Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsene Wenger wants to keep him at the club, as he regards him as a player with a lot of potential. The last 12 months have been his best in an Arsenal shirt, but there are still problems with his game. The Telegraph reported that Chelsea are desperate to sign the England international and are prepared to go as high as £35 million. This is a fair fee for a player in the final year of his contract, especially as he has yet to make one position his own in the Gunners’ line-up.
Chelsea want to sign the player as he offers versatility and would provide cover for several positions in the squad. The Blues are lacking squad depth at the moment and Oxlade-Chamberlain would offer that in abundance. His main complaint with Arsenal’s management of him is that he hasn’t been given a single position he focus on. The Englishman has been played on both wings, as a wing-back and as a central midfielder. At a key stage of his development, he has been shifted around the pitch and that has made it difficult for him to progress as many expected he would. Last season, he managed to contribute seven assists, but his average of 1 shot and 1.1 key passes per game show how he struggled to regularly offer a threat.
The Gunners have forced themselves into a tough position when it comes to his contract and if they are forced to make a decision on his future before the deadline, they should opt to sell. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a hard-working player and he gives his all for the club, but he is dispensable. In the current squad, he isn’t guaranteed a starting position when everyone is fit and it isn’t worth losing out on £35 million, just to see him leave for nothing next summer. He won’t offer enough over the next 12 months to make that justifiable. Their decision to keep Sanchez and Ozil by any means possible is understandable. The same can’t be said for the Englishman.
During the first two fixtures, he has played at right wing-back and left wing-back. Even at this early stage of the season, he is being used in different positions and that shows that he isn’t guaranteed regular minutes in a single role. Hector Bellerin is arguably a better player on the right, while Sead Kolasinac and Nacho Monreal are both a more natural selection on the left side.
If they could get him to sign an extension, Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a good player to have in the squad, as he is homegrown and offers cover across the pitch. However, that looks unlikely and what he offers isn’t enough to turn down £35 million. It would be a blow to lose him to a rival club, but he is by no means a leading player at the club, let alone in the league. He could be replaced and for that reason, he should be sold before the window closes next week.