Arsenal players on international duty have been on form recently. Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe and Thomas Partey have all found themselves on the score sheet for their respective countries and Mikel Arteta will be hoping their form continues into their league match against Crystal Palace. The Gunners will be welcoming one of their invincibles in the name of Patrick Vieira back to Emirates on Monday.
However, amidst all the good mood around the club, Arteta will be worried when the year turns. Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny will not be available for the Gunners for their national duties. Granit Xhaka will still be on the sideline recovering from his injury. That will leave Arteta with Lokonga and Maitland-Niles as his only options. Jack Wilshere is back at the club, however, only as a trainer for youth teams.
So recent reports of The Sun have some ground as it links Liverpool bit-part player Alex Oxlade Chamberlain with a comeback to Arsenal.
Oxlade’s Meteoric Rise And Fall
The Liverpool midfielder, now 28, spent six years at the Emirates before a £35 million move to Anfield in the summer of 2017. The Gunners paid £15million when they bought the 17-year-old Ox from Southampton. He drew comparisons to Theo Walcott during his initial days at Arsenal with his rampant pace and dribbling. The youngster often found himself on the wings but he regarded himself to be a better midfielder. The then manager, Arsene Wenger tried to rotate him into the midfield, but often he resisted that proposition.
However, Oxlade-Chamberlain has a good relationship with Arteta, who also joined Arsenal in the summer of 2011, with both playing a part in the FA Cup successes in 2014 and 2015. Since joining Liverpool, Oxlade has seen better days with a Premier League title medal on his shelf. However, a knee injury ruled him out of the first four months of last season and he has only started four games for Liverpool since. He may be starting to feel like he needs a fresh challenge, despite his £125,000-a-week contract running until 2023.
Do Arsenal And Arteta Need Him
Arsenal are very light in the midfield department currently as they are one Thomas Partey injury away from crisis. Lokonga and Maitland-Niles have been deputising for the Ghanaian in cup games, so when Partey has to leave for African Nations Cup in January, Arsenal will be looking towards youth players to fill in their squad. Charlie Patino has been gathering massive interest from the supporters but he has no prior experience.
Arteta will be looking to bring in stop gap players to fill the void in midfield. He will be considering a proven league player rather than bringing in someone from a different league. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is still young and can fill in at midfield and on the wings. His experience could prove to be an asset to help develop young Arsenal stars such as Saka and Smith Rowe. Ox being an old fan favourite will also galvanise the support of the fans in return.
Liverpool are unlikely to stand in the way of a player who has slipped behind youngsters Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott in Klopp’s midfield pecking order. However, they would still want a reasonable fee for a man who has 35 England caps as Arsenal are interested in an initial six-month loan with the possibility of a permanent deal at the end of the season.