Michael Mongie spoke to Arsenal fan, expert and the Daily Mirror’s chief football writer John Cross about Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move to Liverpool.
Although Jürgen Klopp failed to land his primary summer transfer target in Virgil van Dijk, the German manager has managed to increase the competition for midfield and forward positions with the late capture of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Signed for £35 million, which could rise a further £5 million due to add-ons, Chamberlain is a player that will be of the utmost importance to Liverpool.
Last season, the Reds battled hugely when key players were absent with the likes of Sadio Mané, Philippe Coutinho, Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana all missing a considerable number of games through injury.
Of great significance to supporters especially is the fact that Chamberlain snubbed a big money contract at Arsenal as well as a lucrative offer from Chelsea to move to Liverpool.
This ambition has already endeared him to supporters to a certain extent and to get the lowdown on Liverpool’s latest signing, I spoke to John Cross.
What were the motivating factors behind Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s move away from Arsenal?
I genuinely think it wasn’t financial, he was offered a great contract to stay, it was much more about pushing himself, developing his game and working under Klopp, playing in midfield and playing for England.
How disappointed will Arsene Wenger be to have lost such a talented player?
Very. His mantra is that he develops and improves every player. The fact Oxlade-Chamberlain has left to develop himself elsewhere will hurt Wenger. Wenger also believes Oxlade-Chamberlain is on the cusp of big things.
How influential was Jürgen Klopp in Chamberlain turning down a significant pay rise from both Arsenal and Chelsea to join Liverpool?
Very. Klopp has a magnetic charm, his enthusiasm wins players, he gets into their heads and makes them want to play for him.
What is Chamberlain’s best position?
Honestly, I don’t know! I’ve seen him play well wide, wing back and in midfield. He feels his best position is in midfield, maybe as the No8. But I reckon he may play wide, too.
Where do you think Jürgen Klopp will play Chamberlain in a team with several midfield options and three of the best forwards in the league? Additionally, how much game time do you predict him getting?
As I understand, his vision is to play in midfield. I think he’ll have to accept he won’t start every game.
What is he like for the dressing room?
He’s a great lad, really good fun and will fit right in. He’s bright and will, in my opinion, connect with Liverpool fans.
What is it that has caused such a divide in opinion between Arsenal fans over Chamberlain?
He’s been at the club a long time, he’s had good spells, frustrating ones and I guess they’ve seen the potential and don’t feel it’s always been realised.
In his defence, injuries haven’t helped, constantly being subbed and sometimes no rhyme, reason and certainly no explanation behind not being picked hasn’t helped.
There’s some bitterness from the fans at losing a player but largely I think it’s frustration at glimpses of potential and knowing what might have been.
Does Chamberlain have a greater chance of fulfilling his potential at Liverpool than he did at Arsenal?
Yes, from the perspective that Klopp clearly sees him as a central figure to his plans and I think it’s important for any player to feel that appreciation. Klopp clearly has a plan for him and maybe that will also help him.