There are many Arsenal fans who don’t seem overly concerned by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Liverpool.
These fans will bring up the fact that Oxlade-Chamberlain never scored more than six goals in any of his six seasons at the Gunners.
Yet despite his profligacy, the England international was very often the one player who dug deep during hard times.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s commitment could never be questioned and he earned many plaudits when he delivered an honest interview following a 2-1 win over Middlesbrough last April.
Arsenal’s win ended a poor run of form and Oxlade-Chamberlain thanked the fans for sticking by the team.
“We knew today that it didn’t matter how we won, we needed to go out there and get back to the basics, and that’s making sure that our commitment levels were right to play for this football club,” the 24-year-old said, per the Metro.
“It’s a massive honour to play for a team like Arsenal. You’ve got to give it 100 per cent week in, week out, and maybe that had been slipping in the last few weeks.
“I just want to say one more thing – in recent weeks it’s not gone well for us and to see our fans travel all the way up here on a Monday night means everything, for them to stand by us.
“It was only right that we could get them three points so we’d like to thank them.”
That desire is now gone. Oxlade-Chamberlain was sold to Liverpool last week after turning down a £180,000-per-week contract offer at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal tried to sign Thomas Lemar from AS Monaco, even making a £92 million bid for the Frenchman, but were unable to bring in a replacement for Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Wenger names two possible replacements for the Ox
Yet Arsene Wenger believes the Ox’s successor could lie in the club’s youth ranks.
“I believe that today we are in a strong financial situation, as always, and we have a good enough squad to complete,” Wenger said, per the Mirror.
“And sometimes the fact doesn’t take anything away from the quality of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who I think is a great player.
“But sometimes it opens the door for some younger players like [Reiss] Nelson or Joe Willock. Players who are in behind that will get an opportunity that they don’t get [otherwise].”
Nelson is a rising star
Arsenal fans would love to see 17-year-old Nelson get an opportunity in the first team.
The forward has been in incredible form for Arsenal’s Under-23 team and is even making a name for himself on the international stage, scoring for England’s Under-19 side in their 3-1 defeat to Germany this week.