Wenger: This is best position of player Liverpool are favourites to sign and who Klopp reportedly loves
By Alex Stevens
Arsene Wenger is convinced that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s best position will eventually be as a central midfielder.
The future of the versatile 23-year-old has come under the microscope as he is out of contract at Arsenal in the summer of 2018 and talks have yet to begin on an extension.
Sky Bet last week installed Liverpool as odds-on favourites at 8/11 to sign Oxlade-Chamberlain this summer following a dramatic slash of odds.
The change in price came after the Telegraph claimed that Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is a massive admirer of the England international and is ready to make a concerted summer push to sign him.
The report details that Arsenal are holding out for a £35million valuation for the versatile attacker, but the Merseyside club are confident of driving the price down.
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Oxlade-Chamberlain has spent the majority of his career to date in a wide forward role on the right flank, but he has also been used in recent months by Arsenal with some success in central midfield and at right wing-back.
The Southampton academy product was awarded man-of-the-month last Sunday for his performance at wing-back as the Gunners knocked Manchester City out of the FA Cup to secure a place in the final for the third time in four years.
“He has done very well,” said Wenger of Oxlade-Chamberlain, as quoted by the Telegraph. “In the future I see him being a successful central midfielder.
“But at the moment I feel this role has suited him well for first of all he can use his power and it suits him well as well as he is facing the game when he gets the ball.
“I think he is one of the players that has developed very well mentally. He’s more positive, more confident, more mature and he was sometimes a bit negative with his own performances and on that front he’s much better now.”
But Oxlade-Chamberlain has not been able to nail down a regular starting place despite making 41 appearances across all competitions, scoring six goals and supplying nine assists.
Football Insider verdict:
Oxlade-Chamberlain was once tipped to be England’s next star player, but his career has stagnated at Arsenal just when it appeared he was ready to make the step to first-team regular. The Southampton academy product needs a move away from the Emirates Stadium to reignite his game and develop under a different coach. He has the technical ability, intelligence and mobility to be a bona fide Premier League star. Liverpool should pull out all the stops to make it happen.
In other Liverpool transfer news, the club are clear favourites to sign a world-class playmaker after a dramatic development.