Premier League clubs Everton and Manchester City are thought to be on heading straight for a collision course come the re-opening of the transfer window in the summer, with both sides eyeing a move for Arsenal’s speedy winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
The 23-year-old right winger, eloquently referred to by many as ‘The Ox’, has shown glimpses of his full potential so far this season, scoring a total six goals and notching seven assists in his 33 appearances for the club across all competitions.
However, while 33 appearances sound a lot, only 17 of those are starts and only four of those are games he managed to play the full 90 minutes in.
Understandably, the Portsmouth-born winger has grown frustrated in his progress at the Emirates Stadium so far and is heavily considering his options.
Furthermore, he has been very vocal about his disappointment regarding his playing time, once revealing in an interview, “There comes a time in your career where you have to re-evaluate things and think: ‘Is that going to be here or elsewhere?’
“As a footballer, you want to play every game. Me being myself, I’m not happy when I’m not playing.
“There is going to come a time in my career, and I think I’m approaching that, when I do need to be getting more regular football,” Oxlade-Chamberlain added.
Indeed, like sharks smelling blood on open waters, Everton and Manchester City have jumped in to give Oxlade-Chamberlain an escape route. According to the Mirror, the two Premier League heavyweights are believed to be keen on snapping up the pacey wide-man in the summer and both are prepared to pay top dollar to acquire the player’s services.
On that end, Manchester City are top favourites to land the former Southampton starlet. City manager Pep Guardiola has long been a fan the Ox and is keen to bring the footballer to the Etihad Stadium. The fact that he is an Englishman and can add towards City’s home-grown players requirement is a bonus the 2011 FA Cup winners are well aware of as well.
Everton, however, have not considered themselves out of the competition just yet. Toffees gaffer Ronald Koeman has been promised a huge transfer kitty by the Everton board come the summer. For his part, the Dutch tactician is not afraid to spend that cash and will be splashing it on the double FA Cup winner if need be.
Arsenal will nonetheless be keen to keep the Ox in North London, and will not accept any bids lower than his current market value of £17m if they are to let him leave.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s contract with Arsenal is set to expire in 2018.