Monday 24 July 2017

Arsenal star considers quitting Arsenal for Liverpool

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. Photo: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Chris Bascombe

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is considering quitting Arsenal for Liverpool this summer, tempted by the prospect of playing in his favoured central midfield role under Jurgen Klopp.

Oxlade-Chamberlain’s future is uncertain as he awaits a contract offer from Arsenal. His current deal runs out in 2018 so he is inevitably mulling over his options, with Liverpool an attractive proposition. Liverpool are interested in the player and are watching developments closely.

Should negotiations fail to advance it is understood the England international is ready to push for a move to Anfield.

Oxlade-Chamberlain wants his career to develop as a central midfielder rather than wide man and Klopp’s interest will make Liverpool front-runners should a transfer materialise.

Despite Oxlade-Chamberlain’s appeal, Liverpool recognise several obstacles must be overcome to complete one of the most eye-catching deals of the summer.

Although Oxlade-Chamberlain's contract is running out Liverpool would still be expected to pay around £25 million.

Arsene Wenger’s future is also an issue. Should Wenger depart, a new manager will want to reassess all the club’s prized assets and might see Oxlade-Chamberlain continuing in his favourite role. The tone and speed of contract negotiations could shift.

Having suffered some high-profile disappointments in the transfer market, Liverpool will also be wary of any expression of interest in them by a player who is engaging in contract talks at his current club.

The Merseyside club are mindful of the possibility their interest could be exploited as a bargaining tool as the player ponders the merits of signing a new deal in London.

Klopp does have several targets, some dependent on Liverpool’s qualification into the Champions League.

Roma’s Mohamed Salah – who was a target during the Brendan Rodgers era – is also under consideration. Although Salah chose Chelsea in 2014 and had an unhappy spell at Stamford Bridge, he has shone in Italy.

Meanwhile, Klopp admits he does not know when captain Jordan Henderson will be available again, with the midfielder unlikely to feature in the remaining two games.

“It is too early to say. Next season is the latest moment of course but anything can happen,” said Klopp.

“We stay positive because he is strong. The moment someone gives him the green light he will be back in a second because of his attitude and character. I am not thinking about the start of pre-season but that would be the latest moment he is back.”

Henderson has not played since February 11 after suffering another foot injury. Liverpool initially suggested the player would be out for weeks rather than months, and played down any comparisons with a foot injury sustained last season.

But the longer the England skipper has been absent, the more the complaint has echoes of an earlier issue.

“Like it is always it, you wish a ligament was snapped. Then you know if you fix it or wait for it six weeks, eight weeks or whatever,” said Klopp.

“This is the kind of issue where you have to wait. That is how the body is sometimes. Jordan can manage really well. It was the medical department that said he has to rest. We still have to that is all.”

With England having World Cup qualifiers at the end of the season, that will also concern Gareth Southgate.

“We have not made a final judgement for this season,” said Klopp.

“We don’t know if he will back tomorrow in training or next week. Because it is Jordan and he is a really high fitness level, even if it just swimming, we know we can think about him immediately when he is ready. Then we could think about the national team. If he has games then he could play, if not it makes no sense. But no we did not speak (to England).”

Telegraph.co.uk

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