Premier League rivals make Arsenal 23-year-old top summer target in £30m swoop - report
By Matt Farr
Manchester United are planning a shock £30million move for Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, according to a report.
The Mirror claims that Jose Mourinho is looking to reinforce his midfield options in the summer, and has made the Arsenal and England ace one of his primary targets.
Any move for the 23-year-old might come as a considerable shock to Arsenal fans, who will be bracing themselves for bids for their more high-profile stars – like Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
However, they will be particularly keen not to see Oxlade-Chamberlain follow the same path as several former Arsenal stars before him and join a Premier League rival.
Mourinho allowed midfield duo Morgan Schneiderlin and Memphis Depay to quit the club last month, and he did not sign a replacement. 35-year-old Michael Carrick, meanwhile, has just months left on his contract.
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However, he has a plan to make further changes to his squad at the end of the season, and Oxlade-Chamberlain has emerged as one of three top targets.
The Old Trafford chief is particularly keen to bring in the Arsenal man if he fails in his attempts to land Chelsea duo Nemanja Matic and Willian.
Antonio Conte is unlikely to let two of his key players quit the club to join a Premier League rival, but Arsenal’s Oxlade-Chamberlain could be tempted to quit the Emirates if he is not promised a more regular role in the first-team.
The 23-year-old has made 32 appearances for the Gunners this season, contributing six goals and seven assists; but he has largely been used as a substitute.
Just 10 of his 21 Premier League appearances this term have been as a starter, while he has also managed just three starts from a possible seven in the Champions League.
Meanwhile, of all of his 32 appearances in all competitions, Oxlade-Chamberlain has only ever completed the full 90 minutes on six occasions.
It is reported that Mourinho may even consider tapping into Wenger’s previous interest in defender Chris Smalling in his bid to land the out-of-favour Arsenal man.
Football Insider verdict
The jury remains out on Oxlade-Chamberlain, with his contributions over the past two seasons below the expected standard. That, coupled with injuries and other inconsistencies, is likely why Wenger does not turn to him as regularly as he might like. However, that should be no reason to let him leave to a Premier League rival, let alone Manchester United. £30million would be more than a fair price, but given his age and ability, Oxlade-Chamberlain could still fulfil much of his yet unseen potential. That said, he would fit in well among Mourinho’s current squad with his pace and power. As of the summer, there will be just one year left to run on his current Arsenal deal, and it remains to be seen what the future holds for him in the long-term.
In other Arsenal transfer news, fans have urged the club to sign this midfield sensation following his display against Barcelona.