The £15 million Arsenal paid to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain from Southampton will turn out to be a bargain, according to former Southampton youth coach Jason Dodd.
Arsenal made Oxlade-Chamberlain one of the most expensive teenagers of all time in 2011 after agreeing a fee worth £12m up front with a further £3m in add ons.
Dodd, who coached the England international during his time as a youth coach at St Mary's, believes the 21-year-old will go well beyond justifying that fee.
He told Sky Sports: "He’s pushed on since when he was at Southampton. I remember when he was 15, he was only a very slight boy so we spoke to his dad and played him a year down so it was a case of understanding the player.
"We always knew with Alex that he was going to be special because he just needed to grow into his body. He was a good kid and we knew he was going to get stronger and stronger."
While Oxlade-Chamberlain has been an important player for Arsenal this season, his progress has been halted by a number of injuries. A knee injury kept him out for five months last season while a hamstring injury, suffered against Manchester United last week, is set to keep him out for a month.
Dodd agrees that injuries have certainly slowed Oxlade-Chamberlain's progress down.
He said: "Arsenal have got a bargain in my opinion because he will just get better and better. I feel for him this year because he’s had these niggly injuries – hamstrings – that he’s not really had before and it’s really affected his performances this season because he hasn’t been able to return to play as regularly as he would like to play."
Chambers' best position
Arsenal have plucked several stars from the Southampton academy under Wenger with Theo Walcott and Calum Chambers also signing for big fees. Chambers has come on leaps and bounds since arriving in the summer but fans are still wondering where his best position is.
Dodd explained: "He didn’t enjoy centre-half when he was younger because he wanted to get involved. Playing there is a little bit easier because there’s not so much running. But he’s a player. He’s a big strong boy now and can deal with things in the air. I think he will progress into a very good centre-half."
Do you think Oxlade-Chamberlain can become one of the biggest bargains in Premier League history? Give us your thoughts in the comments box below!
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