Former Arsenal full-back, Nigel Winterburn, is convinced that Arsene Wenger needs to keep Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain amid rumours that he could be leaving the Gunners this summer.
Winterburn believes that the Ox has been one of Arsenal’s outstanding players this term and has made ‘strides’ in his career over the last season.
The pundit therefore thinks that the Gunners must do what they can to keep the 24-year-old at the club, despite the England international having less than a year on his current deal.
“Everything coming out of Arsenal sounds like he’s resisting signing a new contract,” Winterburn told Sky Sports, reports the Express.
“Is that because he’s yet to be convinced he’s going to play a large amount of games?
“I absolutely say he’s a player who has made massive strides in the last season. At wing-back, I’d put him as Arsenal’s outstanding player.
“Is that a position he wants to play regular though? Or does he want to play in centre-midfield? Or does he want to play in a more advanced area in behind a main striker?
“That’s the position you have to look at in his general play. Then you have to look at the amount he’s being offered.
“Does he feel he’s being offered less than some of the other players in the team that he’s as important as?
“Since the end of last season his performances have been a very high level. He’s definitely a player that Arsenal need to keep.”
The Ox was Arsenal’s highest rated player against Stoke. However, the midfielder is still struggling with his end product and is yet to rack up any goals or assists over the two fixtures Arsenal have played so far, despite creating five chances.
He’s spoken openly about his preference for playing in the middle before and now that he’s at wing-back, as Winterburn suggests, perhaps he’s getting frustrated with being moved around the park to another position yet again.
Since signing for Arsenal from Southampton in 2011, the Ox has played on the left, on the right, in centre-mid, defensive-mid, attacking-mid and even at right-back. Therefore, you can understand why he might be reluctant to pen a new deal if he’s just going to endure more of the same.
On the other hand, the Gunners have been loyal to the Ox throughout his injury woes. Last season, he made 29 Premier League appearances – the most since he signed from the Saints six years ago – and now he reportedly wants to leave.
Chelsea and Liverpool have both been linked with the lad, with the Blues said to be willing to offer £35m.