Arsenal midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has once again been linked with a summer switch to Liverpool, though it seems an unlikely move.
There are few managers more under pressure at present than the Gunners’ Arsene Wenger, with supporter unrest continuing to undermine another troubled campaign at the Emirates.
Arsenal are still vying with Liverpool for a top-four finish in the Premier League, but their 3-1 loss at Anfield on Saturday evening certainly poured doubt on their end-of-season hopes.
Having suffered a 10-2 humiliation at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16, too, the north London side could be facing a summer exodus.
According to the Telegraph, this could include one of their most impressive players of 2016/17, Oxlade-Chamberlain.
“Having become disillusioned with his contract situation and playing status, Oxlade-Chamberlain looks certain to quit the club in an attempt to reignite his career,” they claim.
With just a year left on his current deal this summer, the 23-year-old has again been linked with a move to Liverpool.
This builds on previous speculation from the Mail this time last year and, more recently, both the Guardian and the Telegraph in December.
The Echo claim Liverpool are “monitoring” Oxlade-Chamberlain’s situation but that he “is not one of the Reds’ main summer targets but if the Gunners agree to sell then he could become an option.”
But while it could be the case that Oxlade-Chamberlain opts to leave Arsenal in the summer, it is still questionable whether that would be for Liverpool.
Addressing reports of the Reds’ interest in Oxlade-Chamberlain at the end of 2016, Jurgen Klopp described them as “nonsense,” serving as a reality check for the rumour mill.
“Usually I don’t say anything about transfer rumours, but I can make an exception, no problem: nonsense,” he said.
Klopp is typically guarded when it comes to speculation, but this was an emphatic statement.
While Oxlade-Chamberlain’s versatility, tactical flexibility and industry would make him a good fit for Klopp’s system on Merseyside, he has struggled for consistency at Arsenal.
This has largely been due to injuries, of which there have been many, but also his inability to establish a natural position.
So far in 2016/17, Oxlade-Chamberlain has made 35 appearances in all competitions, scoring six goals and assisting seven, playing in eight different positions.
He is arguably most effective out wide, but garnered considerable praise for his performance against Bayern as a central midfielder.
While he could be a good signing for Liverpool if capable of proving his fitness, it seems unlikely Klopp is interested—and recent links are simply a case of lazy association.