With reports indicating that there’s a chance that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be a Liverpool player next season, Michael Mongie discusses if he’s the ideal player for Jürgen Klopp to sign.
If you were watching the North London derby yesterday and you hadn’t watched Arsenal for a while, you might have been surprised that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was playing right back for the Gunners – and has been on and off for a few weeks.
Now, I know that you might be thinking that this is going to be an article purely centred around why Chamberlain’s versatility is perfect for Klopp.
Well, the answer is yes and no. Yes because versatility is a characteristic that Klopp favours and no because I couldn’t bear to see another midfielder in Liverpool’s backline!
Liverpool have been lacking depth right across the park this season with a player getting injured for every position on the pitch bar the goalkeepers. I mean, for God’s sake, even Nathaniel Clyne picked up an injury!
For the first time since signing as Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp came under a barrage of criticism for his failure to address frailties within the squad during the January transfer window.
While there is no protecting Klopp’s odd decision not to bolster his obviously thin squad, this summer offers the opportunity to right the wrongs of the season that will have passed.
With that in mind, it’s looking increasingly likely that Klopp, with his weakened and comparatively cheaper squad, will finish in the top four and even the top three.
But in order for all to be forgiven and forgotten, Klopp needs to get his summer transfers absolutely right.
Some Liverpool supporters were shocked when reports emerged about the possibility of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain signing for Liverpool this summer.
There was, however, unanimous agreement that if Liverpool did sign the Arsenal midfielder, that no one should refer to him as ‘The Ox’ – and I support this.
But I can’t understand the aversion to signing a talented, young midfielder that would surely only progress under a manager like Jürgen Klopp.
Not only is he young and full of promise, he plugs a gap that has troubled Liverpool this season, despite the £36 million transfer of Sadio Mané: pace on the flanks.
Whenever Sadio Mané has been absent this season, Liverpool have really struggled to break down teams due their lack of pace. The Senegal attacker offers a different kind of approach which slower full-backs and central defenders can’t handle.
Chamberlain would offer a similar approach if Liverpool signed him and would allow the Reds some comfort in the event of an injury to Mané.
Not only is Chamberlain’s speed and high agility suited to working the flanks for Liverpool, he is a good passer of the ball. 82% of his 724 have hit the mark this season and he has made five assists from his central midfield role for the Gunners.
This is comparable to Philippe Coutinho whose 83% pass accuracy yielded six assists in exactly the same number of games. Although, the Brazilian has made almost 450 more passes than Chamberlain and created 28 more chances.
Chamberlain’s versatility would be an added bonus but it should not be the selling point for why Liverpool sign him. With plenty of money at his disposal this summer, Klopp should not need to play the Englishman in midfield.
The Arsenal man would certainly be a great signing for Liverpool and the supposed £35 million price tag the Gunners have slapped on Chamberlain is likely to be way off the mark.
With The Mirror reporting that Arsenal could offer Chamberlain over £100,000-a-week to keep him at the Emirates, there is still a chance that he might remain in North London next season.
That being said, with limited game time in his preferred position and uncertainty surrounding Arsenal’s future, I think Chamberlain will move to Liverpool this summer for a fee in the region of £25 million.