Exclusive: Arsenal ready to open talks with attacker

By Editor Wayne Veysey| Former Evening Standard, Press Association and Goal chief correspondent with 17 years experience of breaking big stories, including exclusives like this

Follow me on Twitter @footyinsider247

Arsenal are keen to open contract talks with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the coming weeks, Football Insider sources understand.

The Gunners are ready to begin negotiations with the England international as he enters the final two-and-a-half years of his current agreement.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been on the fringes of the Arsenal team this season despite serious injuries to the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Danny Welbeck, Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin.

But manager Arsene Wenger retains full faith in the 22-year-old and has no intention of cashing in on him in the summer.

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Oxlade-Chamberlain did not score a single Premier League goal in 2015 and has slipped behind Joel Campbell in the pecking order at Emirates Stadium.

In 26 matches in all competitions this season, he has scored just one goal and supplied one assist, a poor return for a player who predominantly plays on the flanks.

Upwardly mobile: Campbell has moved above Oxlade-Chamberlain in pecking order

Nevertheless, Arsenal are ready to hand the attacking midfielder a hefty rise on his current deal, which is worth £52,000-a-week.

The Londoners are keen to tie down first-teamers aged under 30 to long-term contracts and the Oxlade-Chamberlain contract situation is the latest on their radar as they also work on new deals for Mesut Ozil and Jack Wilshere.

As revealed by Football Insider, Arsenal have already signed Nacho Monreal to a new £80,000-a-week agreement that runs until 2019.