By Matt Farr
Premier League champions Chelsea have joined the race to sign Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer, according to a report.
Sky Sports claim that the Blues are set to rival both Liverpool and Manchester City for the signature of the 23-year-old this summer, as negotiations over a new contract at Arsenal continue to stall.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has just one year remaining on his current deal at the Emirates, but while manager Arsene Wenger remains keen to see him commit his future, formal talks have yet to begin.
The versatile player was an important asset to the north London club last season, contributing six goals and 11 assists from 45 appearances in all competitions.
He was deployed in multiple different roles, ranging from a holding-midfielder to a wide-midfielder, and also as a right wing-back towards the end of the season.
However, the England international has made clear his desire to play regularly in a central-midfield role, and his lack of such opportunities has seen him consider his future ahead of the new season.
He is also understood to have grown frustrated over the lack of progress over a new deal at the club, a situation that Wenger has also failed to address with several other players in the senior squad.
But there could be no shortage of potential suitors this summer, with several of the Premier League and Europe’s elite sides reportedly having been alerted to his contract situation.
Football Insider verdict
Oxlade-Chamberlain may not have performed consistently at the required level since his move to Arsenal years ago, but he can still be a vital player for the club. He is still only 23 after all, and the fact that clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City are willing to take him off their hands suggests that they value his talents. Arsenal simply must open talks over a fresh agreement at the earliest opportunity, or else they risk the player becoming the latest in a long line of first-team stars to jump ship for one of their Premier League rivals.
In other Arsenal transfer news, a European giant is prepared to use this player as makeweight in a deal to sign Arsenal’s 22-year-old star.