Arsene Wenger says he accepts Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain discussing the possibility of leaving Arsenal, but stressed the player remains a key part of his plans.
The England international revealed last week that there will come a time he ponders leaving the Gunners if he does cement a first-team place with the club, which remains his main goal.
Wenger found it hard to argue with Oxlade-Chamberlain’s remarks but is eager to keep him at the Emirates Stadium.
The Frenchman advised the midfielder to look at the resurgence of another former Southampton star, Theo Walcott, for inspiration after starting only three Premier League matches so far this season.
“That I can understand,” Wenger said when asked about Oxlade-Chamberlain’s remarks.
“But, on the other hand, you buy a young player at 17 years of age, you spend a lot of money on him, so then you would like him to stay. I think his place is here.
“I rate him as a player and I hope he will show he can have a stable position in the team until the end of the season.
“This season he has been similar to Theo Walcott [in terms of an improved attitude] but he has not been rewarded yet. He is in a similar position because he has worked really hard.
“What I have seen in Theo is he lets the passion for the game come out of his body.”
Arsenal host Ludogorets in the Champions League on Wednesday before taking on Middlesbrough in the Premier League on Saturday.