The Ox spent his debut and the majority of his time on the pitch attacking from the wing, but Wenger has stated on multiple occasions that he sees Alex as a central midfielder. He was the natural successor on the right, with Walcott pursuing the forward role. Injuries from his short-burst style, and inconsistency from his injuries, have seen him not attain the masterful heights for which he was touted to achieve by now.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has had opportunities in both, the center and the wing this season, and seems to be losing the challenge to others emerging. In terms of developing players, I think the consensus of supporters would’ve called for Gibbs on the outside and Chambers in the middle for our most recent match against Liverpool.
Ox’s role in the pecking order becomes a concern at this time, only because of two factors – the transfer window and the pending return of our plagued midfield. Assuming that Elneny doesn’t flop, he and Chambers would appear to be our young CM pairing. The likes of Welbeck, Santi, Rosicky, Wilshere, Alexis, and Coquelin would all jump straight above him in the lineup. I feel crazy saying this, but even with one or two injuries in the side we could maintain and have player and club both benefit from a spring loan.
There are rumors currently, however ridiculous, of a new deal for Chamberlain that brought this to mind. With 2.5 years left on his current contract, I don’t see why Arsene would be penning something new for him unless he is trying to show a vote of confidence in the player. I speculate, that this could either be a genuine commitment, or a preface to a loan deal that would open space in the side for another January! I need to reiterate that this is speculation on speculation, but it’s also feasible (and fun).
If we bring in another midfielder, would a loan deal for Ox really be a bad idea? It would be a massive task to move so quickly on the next two weeks. He would play a role, if not start, at most other clubs in the premier league. Personally, I don’t think he wants to live abroad, but a 6-month stint in a league where he has space to develop confidence could really move him forward for next season. I am torn because if we win something, I would not want him to miss out as a contributor. I think he would feel the same.
I need to mention that it is incredible that we as a club are in a position where a minor concern as such can be considered. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could be a world-beater when it starts to click. We can all see the plays where, with just a little bit more, he’d be able to ghost past a left back and thread the ball into the far window or near post with ease. It’s not yet time for make-or-break decisions, but he is getting to an age where the next couple of years are crucial to his dominance as a footballer. I fully back him and hope that he continues to battle for a place in what could be a legendary side over the next year. Come on The Ox!