Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain must regret choosing to join Arsenal over Manchester United, even more so following the arrival of £42.4million club-record signing Mesut Ozil at the Emirates Stadium.

When the 20-year-old midfielder opted to leave Southampton in the summer of 2011, he had a whole host of the Premier League's top clubs vying for his signature.

After deciding to follow the same path that led Theo Walcott from the south coast to north London, Oxlade-Chamberlain harboured ambitions of not only emulating, but surpassing the achievements of his fellow Saints academy graduate.

Two years on, and whilst the England international's contribution for the Gunners has been encouraging, he's failed to make anywhere near the sort of strides that had been anticipated, after exploding onto the scene at St Mary's in August 2010.

Arsene Wenger shelled out £15million to bring Oxlade-Chamberlain to Arsenal, after a solitary season of first-team football in League One, with the intention of allowing him time to settle in his new surroundings, before unleashing him in the Premier League and Europe.

There has been a number of impressive performances and flashes of brilliance - like the goal scored on his Champions League debut - but ultimately his progression has stagnated, due to a combination of injuries, and increased competition for places in the Arsenal midfield.

Initially deployed as a winger, Wenger sees Oxlade-Chamberlain's long-term future as a central midfielder, given his composure and technical ability with the ball. Make no mistake, he is very quick, but can also tackle, shoot, and has a good eye for a pass; attributes that mean he is more suited to a central role.

On paper at least, Oxlade-Chamberlain is a better prospect than Walcott was at the same age, but it's difficult to see how the youngster is going to establish himself as a first-team regular quite in the same way as his early Arsenal mentor.

Although Walcott still has a tendency to frustrate, he has cemented his place on the right side of Arsenal's front three, and faces little competition for his starting spot. Meanwhile, Oxlade-Chamberlain has a real fight to dislodge any one of Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshere, Santi Cazorla, and now Ozil, who will all surely be ahead of him in the queue for his preferred central position.

At Manchester United, only Michael Carrick could be guaranteed a starting role ahead of the Arsenal midfielder in that central area. Tom Cleverley is arguably inferior to Oxlade-Chamberlain, yet he is currently a first-choice option for David Moyes at Old Trafford.

The arrival of Marouane Fellaini gives the former Everton boss another alternative, but he will probably play in a slightly more advanced role, to help support Robin van Persie, particularly in the absence of Wayne Rooney.

Out wide, Danny Welbeck is in fine form in the early part of 2013/14, but other than him, you could also argue that a fully fit Oxlade-Chamberlain would get in ahead of Ashley Young, Luis Nani and Antonio Valencia.

It's unlikely that Arsenal would entertain the idea of selling the midfielder to Manchester United, even if they were to make an enquiry when the transfer window reopens in January, regardless of how much Oxlade-Chamberlain is featuring in Wenger's first-team plans. But, they are very well stocked in his specialist area.

In a World Cup year, and when regular action is a must, the former Southampton star could be forgiven for thinking - like Van Persie did before him - that his future would be better served at Old Trafford.

With more first-team opportunities easier to come by, a move to the reigning Premier League champions would make sense for player, club and country. 

Topics:
#Manchester United
#Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
#Arsenal
#Alex
#Premier League
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