The Pros And Cons Of Liverpool Signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

The Pros And Cons Of Liverpool Signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Jun 27, 2017

Featured Liverpool

With the dust beginning to settle on the 2016/17, the transfer mill is beginning to take shape. Speculation has been rife of late regarding Mohamed Salah’s potential transfer to the club – but another player who has reportedly said to have been on Jürgen Klopp’s radar since April is Arsenal winger, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

With the 23-year-old having less than 12 months left on his contract at Arsenal, the Englishman spoke out regarding his frustration at the lack of activity surrounding a new contract; this has left his future in doubt.

The Metro reported that the attacker’s future at the club was in doubt – and with no Champions League football for Gunners fans to look forward to next term, could Chamberlain possibly push for a move this summer?

Pros Of Liverpool Signing Oxlade-Chamberlain 

There’s no doubting Chamberlain’s qualities. He is most notably blessed with stinging pace, and if he signs, he will add even more pace to a Liverpool front three comprising of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah. Pace was something that the Reds seemed to lack without star winger Mané – he was undoubtedly the player in the side who offered a direct, pacey threat going forward. With Liverpool struggling without Mané, Chamberlain would be an ideal Plan B for Jürgen Klopp to ponder – he would offer pace, directness and power.

Another problem that Klopp’s side seemed to have without Mané/against deep-block sides last season was a lack of end product out wide. The inconvenient truth is, that, without Mané, Liverpool really lack any wide threat. This was exposed on occasions last season – Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner have been wholly predictable when trying to offer an attacking thrust. Add to that the fact that the Reds don’t strictly have any natural wingers in the side, bar Coutinho, that would walk into the first-team. Chamberlain can play out wide, and he would offer this final ball that has been woefully lacking at times from Liverpool’s attacking forays.

Another advantage would be his versatility & comp in Jürgen Klopp’s system. The German seemed to settle on a conventional 4-3-3 system for most of last season – and Oxlade-Chamberlain’s capability to play in midfield, wing-back or as a winger/attacking midfielder would be ideal for Klopp, should he be looking to tweak his system at any point in the season.

Chamberlain did start in midfield in the Three Lions’ 3-2 defeat to France – despite the Englishman getting slated for his performance, he can still be effective in a midfield three as opposed to the midfield two he often plays in for England. As Klopp favours a midfield three very often, there’s no reason why he couldn’t slot seamlessly into it. He would give something different for Liverpool to ponder.

We could also see a back-three formation from the German next season – should he at any time decide to change the formation, Chamberlain at wing-back would offer balance and width in abundance. Something that Alberto Moreno will not be able to offer, as he looks destined for the Anfield exit door. Oh, and he doesn’t go the African Cup Of Nations.

Cons Of Liverpool Signing Oxlade-Chamberlain

However, there are some frailties to Chamberlain’s game too. One prominent worry that has been shared among many fans is his injury record. For context, here’s the injuries he’s obtained since 2012:

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If you take his injuries into context, it’s really unlikely that Klopp is going to be willing to consider him as a first-team option. He’s going to be a squad player at best – and considering the Englishman is looking to move for first-team action, I personally don’t envisage him being happy perching on the bench week-in, week-out.

Which brings us onto his perceived price tag. Reports are suggesting he could be worth around £30m. Linking this back to the previous point; it seems a little bit futile to sign a player who’s going to spend most of his career sitting on the bench for £30m. Yes, he’s only 23 and may still be a raw talent – but it makes little sense signing a player for a fairly extortionate price who’s a squad player at best.

Another concern is his goal return in that period. Since 2012, Oxlade-Chamberlain has only contributed 20 goals in 194 games at Arsenal. That averages to around 3.33 goals a season. For a versatile winger/attacking midfielder like him, you’d arguably expect a bigger output. His final ball into the box isn’t a problem – but manager Jürgen Klopp is likely going to be looking at a winger with a better output.

Where Would He Fit In?

In Klopp’s 4-3-3, he would most likely feature as one of the midfield three, where he has done on occasions for Arsenal. He could also feature on either the left-wing or right-wing, to offer his dynamism, pace and power. I envisage him being a second choice to Mané with Coutinho in midfield.

This, as I’ve mentioned, gives Liverpool an edge as he doesn’t go to the AFCON – so it’d give the Reds something different to think about. In a diamond, he would most likely feature as an attacking midfielder – behind the two strikers. Should Klopp deploy a back three formation at any time, he will most likely feature as a wing-back as he has done for Arsenal.

 

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