In a shocking turn of events, Chelsea have today agreed on a fee with Arsenal for the transfer of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The fee is reported to be around £35million. The Englishman has one year left on his current contract and has made it clear that he won’t be signing a new one at the club. Instead, the 24-year old is embarking on a new challenge as he looks forward to working under Antonio Conte.
The move seemingly comes out of nowhere as Arsène Wenger emphatically stated last month that the 24-year old would 100% be staying. However, the chance to play for the Premier League champions and under Antonio Conte has proven to be too much for the Ox. The 24-year old may not have had a glittering career at the Emirates but the Chelsea boss will undoubtedly bring out the best in him.
Here’s what Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain brings to Chelsea.
Whether it’s at CM or wing-back, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has a specific style of play he brings every time he steps on a pitch. The Ox is notorious for his direct style of running, he dares to take on players in all phases of the pitch, using his pace and power to go past opponents at ease.
In the middle of the pitch, Chamberlain would be perfect in a B2B role, as he could easily transition from one end of the pitch to the other. Chelsea are a team that relies on ball carriers like Victor Moses and Eden Hazard, the Ox could help fulfil that role through the middle.
However, if Antonio Conte deploys the Ox at RWB, the Englishman will drive up and down the right flank whipping in crosses all game. Rarely does he cut inside or try to enter the 18-yard box, he prefers to stay wide and provide width for the team to stretch opposing defences.
Wasteful in the Final Third
In his 132 appearances in the Premier League, the Ox has only scored 9 goals, that’s only 1 more than Marcos Alonso – who’s a fullback that’s been here 1 season. To make matters worse, he’s produced a 25% shot accuracy in that time. That’s abysmal for an attacking wide player that so desperately craves on playing in the middle. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has all the right traits to excel but his inept decision-making in the final third will never allow him to develop properly.
For most of his career, the 24-year old has played on the wing, in that time he’s shown Arsenal fans how frustrating he can be. In those 132 league games, Chamberlain has only been able to muster a 20% cross accuracy, Antonio Conte will not tolerate such wastefulness at Chelsea.
Last season Chamberlain only managed to create 31 chances whilst playing 29 games, that’s not good enough especially from wide positions.
Overall, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is an exciting prospect with many glaring flaws. Under the right manager, he may be able to finally produce a consistent season. Where Conte deems best to play him at is another question for another day.