With news breaking that Arsene Wenger will stay at Arsenal for the next two years, Liverpool could have a better chance of signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Liverpool could be handed the initiative by Arsenal themselves in the race to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with their decision to hand Arsene Wenger a contract extension, meaning the Frenchman will stay in North London for two more years.
Under Wenger, Chamberlain has had limited football, even out wide in what many would consider his natural position as a pacy and tricky player. The no.15 has never played more than 30 Premier League games in a season for Arsenal, averaging 22 per season.
The English international wishes to play a central midfield role at Arsenal but played there just 16 times out 42 this season.
In the final stages of the season, Chamberlain played as the right wing-back in Wenger’s reinvigorated 3-4-3 system which has seen Rob Holding come to prominence at the back for Arsenal.
With Chamberlain yet to sign a contract extension with the Gunners, Wenger’s continued backing by the Arsenal hierarchy could lend a helping hand to Liverpool in their bid to sign Chamberlain.
Although it seems unlikely that Jürgen Klopp would replace any of his current first-choice midfielders with Chamberlain, there is a role to be played at Liverpool for the Englishman if he wants it.
The way I see it is that Liverpool have Adam Lallana as the least defensive of their midfielders, with Philippe Coutinho likely to play a role as a number eight next season.
What does that mean for Chamberlain as a central midfielder on Merseyside? Unless Klopp was to continue with Coutinho as a left forward in his favoured 4-3-3, Chamberlain would be the winger to come in for the Reds this summer.
Even if that is the case, that doesn’t mean that there is no room at Liverpool for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the engine room. That brings me to the most important thing that former Southampton man would offer: options.
Throughout the 2016/17 season, Jürgen Klopp was continually frustrated by Liverpool’s lack of options when injury or suspension struck. Assuming Chamberlain isn’t the one to get injured in this scenario, the English international’s versatility is an asset that Klopp would cherish.
Able to play as a winger, a midfielder and apparently as a right back, Chamberlain could fulfil a number of roles for Liverpool next season. With European football returning to Anfield Road, Liverpool will need to cope with the travelling and added fixtures that come with an extra competition.
When Liverpool signed James Milner from Manchester City, he also demanded first team football as a midfielder and has now spent an entire season as a left back. He is very similar to Chamberlain in that he is able play in a number of positions, although it’s unlikely the Arsenal man will play right back for Liverpool with Nathaniel Clyne and Trent Alexander-Arnold sufficient.
Chamberlain has a choice to make this summer. He can stay at Arsenal and play in the Europa League next season or move to Liverpool and play in the Champions League with the opportunity to interchange between playing as a winger and as a midfielder.
Klopp is an expert at convincing players to join him and as Wijnaldum can testify to, a phone call from the German is often all it takes to be persuaded.
“In that conversation he made me feel really good,” Wijnaldum told The Liverpool Echo.
“He gave me a lot of confidence because he said he liked my way of playing football. He said I was a person he really wanted to have in his squad.
“Something like that is always good to hear. It made me happy, especially as it came from such a great trainer like Jürgen Klopp.”