Southampton starlet Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of the hottest properties outside the Barclays Premier League at the moment, and was the subject of much media speculation in the January transfer window.
The 17-year-old winger has been linked with moves to Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool but Saints chairman Nicola Cortese has so far refused to enter into negotiations reports the Daily Telegraph.
Cortese believes Oxlade-Chamberlain, who is set to make his England U21 debut tonight would be better staying with Southampton at least until the end of next season.
“We care about the boy,” he said. “I believe that forAlex the best place for him to progress over the next 18 months is here.”
In the same interview, Cortese questioned the conduct of some of the clubs that had reportedly bid for the player saying, “I have experienced a lot of things over the past month about the behaviour of some Premier League clubs.
“Some have really behaved very well. There has been professionalism and there has been the complete opposite as well.
“Some simply sent a fax. No communication, nothing. It gave the impression that they didn’t care about the boy. Those faxes went straight into the bin.”
The faxed offer allegedly came from Liverpool who had been scouting Chamberlain for some time in a bid to bring the player to Anfield.
The Reds’ director of football strategy Damien Comolli has been spotted at St Mary’s on a number of occasions running the rule over the highly rated youngster as part of the ongoing project to bring the brightest young talent to Liverpool.
Cortese was also unhappy with the way that Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger publicly declared his interest in Oxlade-Chamberlain - something which made a January move to the Emirates even more unlikely, despite the intense media speculation.
“It definitely did not help their cause,” he said. “We focused on what we wanted to do and not what others wanted to do. I was in the driver’s seat. There was not a second I doubted that he would stay.”
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was much more coy when approached about the possibility of moving for Chamberlain, saying “Alex Chamberlain is only young but he has potential.
“He is another one along with Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott. Before that they had the Wallace brothers and Alan Shearer.
“Southampton have done very well bringing young players through over the years,” he concluded.
A charm offensive might be the way to avoid the wrath of the Southampton board, but so far it has done little to progress negotiations.
Oxlade-Chamberlain remains a League One player for now, and will continue to help his Saints side in their push for promotion.