Arsene Wenger’s latest comments over Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future sound ominously similar to those he made just before Serge Gnabry signed for Werder Bremen last year.
With the Ox running into the final year of his contract at Arsenal and seemingly reluctant to sign an extension, no matter how large, Wenger was once again asked about the 24-year-old’s future in north London ahead of the Gunners’ trip to Liverpool this weekend.
The boss reiterated his desire to tie the England international down to a new contract and also pointed out how the club has stood by him through his injury woes.
The ox has, after all, been sidelined for 154 games since signing for Arsenal from Southampton in 2011, so you’d expect a little loyalty.
“I want to keep my best players – my only target is to keep everyone on board. We’ve invested time and money and confidence on players like Ox and they have a responsibility. I hope he commits,” Wenger said.
“I want him to stay at the club and be one of the big players of the future. He is one of the players we want to build around in the future. He will be a big player in this country.
“I’ve had to deal with big departures many times, and I always focus on the team and Arsenal. Of course you want to keep your best players, but you have to find a way to survive.
“I know every bid that we have, of course, but I think the best for us right now is to focus on Sunday’s game.”
What’s concerning is that Wenger said something almost identical before Gnabry left, highlighting his poor luck with injuries, his terrible loan spell at West Brom, and the fact that he wanted to keep the talented winger at the club.
“I want to keep Gnabry and extend his contract,” Wenger said in August 2016.
“Arsenal stood by him for a long time.
“We had to rebuild his confidence when he came back (from West Brom on loan).”
— Marcus Jürgensen (@Sky_MarcusJ) August 31, 2016
After the deal with Werder had gone ahead, the boss said, “We didn’t want to get rid of Gnabry, we wanted to keep him.
“But he was in the last year of his contract. We were close to extending his contract but finally he changed his mind and went to Werder Bremen.
“But I think we taught him a lot and I think if you ask him he would agree with that.”
The Ox has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea this summer. They’ve reportedly made a £35m bid after having their initial £25m offer knocked back.
Antonio Conte is said to be keen since not only is the midfielder versatile, he’s home-grown.
The latest rumour is that Arsenal have offered the Ox an insane £180k-per-week contract, which the 24-year-old’s apparently turned down.
At this stage, I’m really beginning to not care whether he stays or goes.