England international midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Liverpool from Arsenal for a fee that could rise to £40million on transfer deadline day. It did not take a genius to work out that the Ox was not going to sign a new deal in north London.
It was just a question of if he would leave in the summer or one of the next two transfer windows. There was also the question of whether he would join Chelsea or Liverpool. In the end, he chose the Reds due to the presence of nutty German boss Jurgen Klopp.
It was a slap in the face for Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger. However, the Frenchman seemed happy to sell the midfielder and move on.
Where will he fit in?
On paper, it seems a strange move for the midfielder. At 24 years of age, he needs regular first team football. However, Liverpool are heavily covered in the attacking midfield spots, so then there is his favoured central midfield position.
The Liverpool central midfield three of Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and Emre Can has started the campaign in a strong fashion. There is also a theory that when playmaker Philippe Coutinho returns to the starting line-up, he will play a deeper role.
The Brazilian international has played the role in the past. With Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino in such good form in the attacking positions, it seems neither Coutinho nor the Ox will displace any of that trio anytime soon.
However, rumours on Merseyside suggest that Emre Can could sign a pre-contract agreement with Juventus. That would free up a spot in the centre of midfield for England international.
Needs to play games
Oxlade-Chamberlain struggled for first-team football for the majority of his Arsenal career. However, in the second half of last season, he finally nailed down a regular starting spot for the Gunners.
He went on to enjoy the best period of his senior career in the Premier League, all while playing out of position as a wing-back. The fact that he performed so admirably as a wing-back just showed how versatile he is and how useful an asset he is to a team.
The midfielder does still have unfulfilled promise, but he needs to be playing games to develop his game. He does have tremendous attributes, like his pace and strength. At times, though he seems to lack self-belief.
Not playing regularly for the majority of his Arsenal may have hindered his mental state. It certainly could not have helped him. Maybe Liverpool showing confidence in him by spending the money they did to sign him will help Oxlade-Chamberlain’s confidence blossom.
May not start against City
For me, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would not be in the Liverpool starting line-up for the Reds visit to Manchester City on Saturday lunchtime. That is unless any of the starting line-up from their last game against Arsenal are fatigued from international duty.
The Ox is currently odds of 16/1 to win the man of the match against City. If he starts the game, then that would maybe not be a terrible bet. He will be keen to impress on his debut and City are vulnerable at the back. His surging runs and power could cause Pep Guardiola’s side problems.
I can see why Oxlade-Chamberlain chose to move to Liverpool. Klopp comes across as the sort of boss any footballer would want to work with. The Reds also look to be heading the right direction. Meanwhile former club Arsenal seem to be self-destructing at the moment.
I can also see why Liverpool wanted to sign him. He is a versatile, relatively young player who probably still has untapped potential. The only concern is that Oxlade-Chamberlain will struggle for game time on Merseyside.
If he can nail down a regular starting spot in the Reds starting eleven and perform as he did at the end of last season, then the move could be an ideal one. If not then his career could well be stuck in a similar state of stasis as it once was at Arsenal and his talent wasted on Merseyside.
Is there room in the Liverpool team for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?
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