Selling Oxlade-Chamberlain to Chelski for £35million if he won’t sign a new contract with one year to go makes sense.
Selling Oxlade-Chamberlain full stop, does not make sense and if it happens, I personally won’t be a happy bunny.
He’s certainly a player who divides opinion. I don’t think I’ve seen such a 50/50 split between those saying ‘bin off’ and those like me who see a potential star finally breaking through. But I suppose that’s why so many are saying we should take the cash, because the Ox is 24 years old now and having been with Arsenal since he was 17, we’re not now at a stage where we have an embedded first team regular at the club.
He’s played right wing, left wing, centre midfield, right back and now both left and right wing back. And it is on the right that he’s started to look good. Very good in my opinion.
He’s a direct runner. He can beat a man. He’s improved the defensive part of his game. He has begun to put some very good balls in to the box. He doesn’t score as many as we like but at the tail end of last season he was very impressive. His value to the team appears to finally be being realised and – big caveat coming up here – if he remains fit then I think he’s primed to be an absolute star for the second half of his twenties and in to his thirties. So in my mind if we lose him for £35million now then we’ve nurtured a player through injury, form issues, the good and the bad times, only to see him move elsewhere during his peak years.
That is why I don’t want to sell him. Especially to Chelski.
Ask yourself this: why are a club like Chelski interested in the Ox?
Because he’s gifted and good. Very good. If he was as some put it, a very hit and miss footballer with such injury problems, why isn’t it teams like Swansea, Southampton and West Brom after him?
Because he’s a top player and if we lose him then we lose a guy who I think has a very bright future.
The Ox has been better than Bellerin at right wing back. A Bellerin who, in my opinion, we have for a couple of seasons at best as an Arsenal player before the inevitable Barca tapping up. Yet the Ox is English, has proven he can play in that position and if he goes to Chelski will displace Moses at right wing back and be part of a team that won the league last season.
Nothing about this deal makes me happy. I don’t want to sound too extreme, but this feels very Cashley Cole like in terms of what could happen. Granted Cole was a first team regular, a better player, but he went on to become even better at that disgusting football club and if the Ox goes there it wouldn’t surprise me to see him flourish there too.
In the club’s current position though I will say I could understand taking the cash now. What I can’t understand is why we didn’t sort this situation out last season. The player seemed happy at the club, the noises were that he wanted to stay, yet no deal was even apparently put on the table until this summer.
Why? How is that good contact management in any way, shape or form? What the flying f**k are the back office team playing at by having all of these deals all concurrently running out?
That’s where it becomes maddening as an Arsenal fan. To have to watch this unfold every couple of years as we have. What other top six clubs go through these issues in the frequency that we do? United? Nope. City? Lord no. Chelski? No. Even the Totts underpay players but get them nailed down on long contracts to protect the fee and the danger of what seems to happen to us all of the time.
There is something fundamentally wrong about the way we do our contractual business. You’d hope that this new lawyer coming in to oversea contracts might have the wherewithal to simple set a calendar note on his phone that says ‘Player X – contract at two years to go’ but with the man Arsène running everything, he probably will be able to do nothing more than screenshot said calendar note and text it to Arsène with a praying hands emoji.
The catalyst for change is being found out for what it is: nothing more than a catchy slogan used by a slick chief exec who knows how to feed a PR line.
So to cut a long story short: we shouldn’t be in the position to lose the Ox, but given our circumstances, we’ll probably have to.
Catch you all tomorrow.