Tuesday 20 February 2018

£35m Oxlade-Chamberlain remains on Klopp radar

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

James Ducker

Liverpool are refusing to be scared off by Arsenal's £35m valuation of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as Jurgen Klopp steps up his pursuit of the unsettled England midfielder.

Arsenal have yet to hold any formal talks with Oxlade-Chamberlain over a new contract, even though the 23-year-old is about to enter the final 12 months of his existing deal, and Liverpool are eager to exploit the situation.

Klopp is a keen admirer of Oxlade-Chamberlain and hopes to take advantage of the player's growing frustration at not being a regular starter.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been introduced from the bench more times (13) than he has made starts (12) in the Premier League this season and was again omitted from the starting XI for Monday's woeful 3-0 defeat at Crystal Palace that dealt another serious blow to Arsenal's top-four hopes. Oxlade-Chamberlain also has his England prospects to consider.

Read more: Liverpool 'tried to get player's father to lie' in poaching probe

Much of Arsenal's focus in recent months has appeared to centre on the uncertain futures of Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil, who are also out of contract at the end of next season and at risk of leaving, while others have been left to stew.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been told talks will take place at the end of the season but the prospect of the midfielder leaving is another headache for Arsenal's embattled manager, Arsene Wenger.

Jack Wilshere, the 25-year-old England midfielder who is on loan at Bournemouth, and left-back Kieran Gibbs, 27, are two others out of contract in June next year.

Read more: Arsenal to hedge their bets on Wenger future until end of the season

Arsenal sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United for £24m in August 2012, when the Holland striker was in the final year of his contract, so their £35m-plus valuation of Oxlade-Chamberlain seems optimistic.

Liverpool would be confident of driving that price down and believe the changes being implemented by Klopp, who wants to add to a strong nucleus of English players, will appeal to Oxlade-Chamberlain. (© Daily Telegraph, London)


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