I’m a Saints fan but I also have a place in my heart for Arsenal, and Arsene Wenger. However I have got just a few issues with the latest signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (AOC) for a reported and ridiculous £12million, possibly rising to around £15million.
In my opinion, £12m is too much to pay for a kid. From watching him in League One last year he clearly has quality, pace and a very high work rate and I know being an English 17-year-old adds to his value, but he has not even been tested in the Championship let alone the Premiership. Bit of a gamble? I think so.
From AOC’s viewpoint, I’m also a bit disappointed. In terms of player ability, age and transfer fee, this is a very similar deal to the Walcott one. It took 3/4 years for Theo to get a solid place in the Arsenal team, and that’s after some Championship experience, which AOC hasn’t had. Alex will know this and must know that he will have to do plenty of bench warming at Arsenal, which can’t be good for a 17 year-old youngster with bags of potential. Of course money is involved but Alex is earning more than your average teenager. Game time is a necessity.
What about this? Have a season with Saints, push for promotion to the Premiership with them. If you get there, great. If not, you’ll probably have a good season in the Championship and then look for a move to the Premiership. I can only assume that Arsene has given him inside information on the sales of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri, thus giving him a chance of making the side.
I am slightly annoyed as a Saints fan. Just as with the Walcott and Bale sales, our new wonder-kid has jumped ship for a big Premier League side. However, it has to be said that Saints have done a very good bit of business here. The deal is a new club record for Southampton. Hopefully we’ll see it being reinvested in the squad and strengthen our push for promotion back to the Premier League. Maybe then, our players won’t get stolen from us!
From Arsenal’s point of view I don’t think it’s a great deal. The £12million fee is just short of what Arsene paid for Arshavin and is more than what they paid for Samir Nasri or Robin Van Persie. Better, more proven players are available for that sort of money.
Arsene Wenger has said he has been working through the night to sign the best players. He’s acquired many shrewd signings over the years, but the odd Franny Jeffers type buy has slipped in every now and again. Is his judgment deteriorating? That’s for another day.
Back to AOC signing for Arsenal. This is a big money, big risk move. For those who argue that the big risk could bring a big gain, I don’t disagree but I do again say; look at Walcott. He has now started to flourish after his £12million move as a 16-year-old, but it took 4 years. Not ideal for Arsenal, or Walcott. AOC and Theo Walcott are virtually identical players and they don’t look too dis-similar either!
I’ll end with this, do people expect Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to be better than Walcott, or just another Theo?
By John Stammers – Southampton fan – @johnstammers