It has been an interesting summer of transfer activity at Arsenal so far with the club breaking their transfer record to sign Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette for £46.5 million. Arsène Wenger is still expected to bring more new players to the Emirates Stadium before the season kicks off with AS Monaco midfielder Thomas Lemar being heavily linked with a move to the club.
However, keeping hold of the club’s star assets this summer is equally as important as bringing new ones in. Both Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil have been linked with big money moves away but will be a vital part of Wenger’s plans moving forward. In addition to Sánchez and Özil, 23-year-old winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has also attracted interest.
Arsenal Should Not Strengthen Their Opposition
One of the main reasons why Wenger should not allow Oxlade-Chamberlain to leave this summer is because the club should not be strengthening the squads of their opposition. Premier League rivals Chelsea and Manchester City are believed to both be very interested in securing the services of the winger who is coming into the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium.
The club have made a habit of selling talented players to their direct rivals in the past. The sale of star striker Robin van Persie to Manchester United five-years ago for a fee of around £24 million springs to mind. It was a deal which infuriated Arsenal supporters and ultimately resulted in United lifting the Premier League crown the following season. This is a mistake that Wenger should not make again.
Plenty of Time for Oxlade-Chamberlain to Improve
Since joining the club from Southampton six-years ago for a fee of around £12 million which could potentially rise to £15 million, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been left frustrated by a limited number of opportunities to impress in Arsenal’s first team.
However, he is still just 23-years-old and could still develop into a top player at this level. He made 29 appearances in the Premier League last season for the club, the highest amount he has made since joining. A player of his quality should be playing a majority of club’s games, and if Wenger gives him more opportunities, it gives the winger a better chance of reaching his full potential at the club.
A Lack of Better Wide Options
Wenger has opted for the likes of Theo Walcott, Alex Iwobi, Danny Welbeck and Joel Campbell ahead of Oxlade-Chamberlain in wide positions in recent times. However, none of these players have claimed the position as their own. Oxlade-Chamberlain could most probably replicate if not better their performances in a wide position if Wenger gave him more of an opportunity.
The 23-year-old has been given a chance to impress on Arsenal’s pre-season tour in Australia in China where he has got a significant amount of game time under his belt. Not only this, but he has also performed well and may well be forcing himself into Wenger’s plans for next season.
Young English Talent Will Soon Be Invaluable
Arsenal have always been good at giving young English talent the opportunity to impress in their first team. This will certainly come in handy in regards to the Football Association’s FA) rules in regards to the number of homegrown players that must be included in each Premier League side’s 25-man first-team squad. The chairman of the FA, Greg Dyke, is proposing to increase this number from eight to 12 in the next few years and this is another reason in the long list of reasons why Arsenal should keep hold of Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer.