The narrative shared among Arsenal supporters is that midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left the club because he wasn’t played in his favourite position enough.
While that’s certainly part of it, the 24-year-old turning down more money from Arsenal to join Liverpool for less should be alarming.
This is a player many felt was fortunate to be at a club such as Arsenal, but clearly he doesn’t hold the Gunners to such a regard. And that’s why he left.
Wenger’s mistreatment paved the way for Ox’s departure
The English international certainly does want to be a central midfielder for club and country, admitting he dreamt of being Steven Gerrard in a post-match interview. But these aren’t his own disillusions, the idea was put in his head by his own manager.
— Crippy Cooke (@CrippyCooke) August 30, 2017
For five years, Wenger has talked up the idea of the Ox being a midfielder for Arsenal and England without ever delivering on a regular basis. The past 12 months have seen Oxlade-Chamberlain feature more as a wing-back, rather than in any midfield role, so why wouldn’t a player become frustrated with that?
But while his relationship with Wenger may have soured as a result of being turned into a glorified utility man who still wasn’t commanding a starting place for the entirety of a season, the demise of Arsenal was the push he needed to switch the Emirates for Anfield.
Arsenal are a club in crisis
Arsenal made two signings this summer – Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac. The Gunners failed to bring in Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez and Thomas Lemar, two players who have been on the shortlist for some time. Mahrez was more a target the previous summer, but Lemar certainly wasn’t, and the embarrassment of their deadline day struggle to try and sign him highlighted all you needed to know about Arsenal.
The club are a mess on the pitch, currently sitting 16th in the Premier League table with three points from as many games, having suffered consecutive defeats to Stoke City and Liverpool without scoring. They are also a mess off, with financial problems blamed for a lack of more arrivals, a high number of players in the last year of their deals – which includes their two marquee signings.
Players are trying to get out of Arsenal – Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil haven’t extended their deals past 2018. Arsenal can’t even negotiate transfers, having rejected a £10m bid for Lucas Perez before loaning back to Deportivo anyway. And the latest rumour is that they tried valiantly to sign a forward but didn’t have enough time to get the deal done.
They had all summer. Oxlade-Chamberlain may not be high up on supporters’ estimates, but he’s seen Arsenal for what they really are this summer, and clearly believes Liverpool are a much better fit as a result. Liverpool are 10/1 to win the Premier League title this season.
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