When Arsenal paid Southampton £12 million to bring Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain to the club five years ago, many saw it as a move that would secure them one of the finest young players in English football for years to come.
Since then however, Oxlade-Chamberlain hasn’t lived up to the billing, and his failure to secure a consistent place in Arsenal’s first team could see him leave the club this summer.
Oxlade-Chamberlain recently made his 100th appearance for Arsenal in the Premier League, however more than half of these have come from the bench. A string of injuries have staggered the 22-year-old’s progress at the club, with his most recent one ruling him out of England’s crucial friendlies against the Netherlands and Germany.
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The former Saints man has been recently linked with a move back to his old club, as well as a possible switch across London to join West Ham. The prospect of a move is something Oxlade-Chamberlain should consider, as it would allow him to play consistent first team football at one of two teams both currently in the Premier League top seven.
Other reports have optimistically claimed that the England international could be a target for Pep Guardiola when he joins Manchester City in the summer, but given how other young English players have fared there in the past, it is certainly a move he should avoid.
He may miss out on Champions League football if he leaves the Gunners, but he certainly needs to find somewhere to play consistent football to improve his game. Oxlade-Chamberlain’s progression has ground to a halt at Arsenal recently, and he still only has seven Premier League goals to his name over the past five years, along with just seven assists.
This is partly down to the lack of opportunities he has been given in attacking positions at the Emirates, with Arsene Wenger favouring Mesut Ozil, Alexis Sanchez and Theo Walcott. With his ability to run with the ball at pace and set up chances for his teammates, Oxlade-Chamberlain should really be playing week-in-week-out in the Premier League, the sort of opportunity that may only arise if he makes the decision to leave north London.
Though his first focus will be on returning to fitness and winning a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad at Euro 2016, Oxlade-Chamberlain must be prepared to leave Arsenal if he wants to fully unlock his potential.