Arsene Wenger admitted that he understands Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s need for regular playing time, but sent a strong message to the player that his future is at Arsenal – especially after the money the club have spent on him.
The Ox managed to get himself on the scoresheet against Ludogorets on Wednesday night, his third of what has generally been seen as a disappointing season so far for the 23-year-old.
Speaking before the game, the issue of the Ox’s recent comments regarding his future and playing time were raised, and Arsene Wenger had a very clear message for the winger.
“I can understand, but on the other hand, you buy a young player at 17 years of age, you spend a lot of money, then you would like him to stay at the club,” Wenger said.
“I think his place is here. We like him. I personally rate him as a player and I hope that he will show that he can have a stable position in the team until the end of the season.
“This season he has been similar to Walcott. He has not got rewarded yet. But he is in a similar position because he has worked really hard.”
The investment in a player’s development is a point that Wenger has mentioned before when it appeared as if they could leave.
When Serge Gnabry was being linked with an exit over the summer, Wenger highlighted how the club had stood by him through his serious knee injury, but those pleas fell on deaf ears.
With the Ox, I think the club will be more successful should they want him to stay, and that seems to be what they do indeed want.
On Goals on Sunday at the weekend, Alex spoke about why he chose Arsenal over other clubs who were trying to sign him, including Manchester United, Liverpool, and Tottenham, and it’s very clear that he holds the club in high regard. In fact, he has often shown an interest in learning about the club’s history more than many of his teammates.