A bright, daring and clearly talented Oxlade-Chamberlain first entered the mainstream consciousness when his performances for League One Southampton gained national coverage.
Deployed as an attacking midfielder, capable also of playing on the wing, his trickery and light-feet too much for League One defences.
An inclusion in the Team of the Season soon came and a subsequent move to Arsenal. To say Oxlade-Chamberlain has failed to realised some of his potential would be insulting, but it is clear that the English international has not yet become the player he could’ve become.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injuries have hampered his progress at the Emirates, but the signings of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez made it even harder for the Ox to impress in the attacking role that he thrived in at Southampton.
Victim of his success
Towards the end of last season, Arsene Wenger’s refreshing move to a 3-4-3 with wing-backs saw Oxlade-Chamberlain occupy the RWB slot, as a faltering Hector Bellerin experienced a dip in form.
A victim of his success, Oxlade-Chamberlain continued in this position until the end of the season – which, in all honesty, would not have been his preferred position.
Now, with rumours of a potential move to Chelsea, Oxlade-Chamberlain will have to think hard about his future.
At Chelsea, Antonio Conte is blessed with a whole host of attacking talent: Eden Hazard, Pedro, Willian, Fabregas and so forth.
Would Oxlade-Chamberlain really get a look in at the no.10 position?
Most likely, he would not. That is why it appears as though Conte’s purported interest in Oxlade-Chamberlain is in the Englishman becoming a permanent RWB.
Victor Moses was the most surprising element of Chelsea’s side last season, but had his faults and weaknesses – Oxlade-Chamberlain’s performances for Arsenal in this position would have shown that the ex-Saints man would be better suited to this role.
Whilst joining the Premier League champions seems like a very attractive proposition, Oxlade-Chamberlain will have to ask himself where he sees his future: does he bite the bullet and accept he might have to mould himself into a permanent full-back or does he continue at Arsenal, hoping to get more of a chance in the attacking roles?
Testing times for the Ox
It is not say that Oxlade-Chamberlain would never be given a chance in the attacking positions at Chelsea, for surely his versatility will have also attracted Conte – if injury befalls his first-choice attackers, the Ox offers a more than competent replacement.
Yet, it would seem likely that the role Conte would have in mind for Oxlade-Chamberlain would be a RWB in his 3-4-3 system.
It will be a testing couple of days for the Ox if a bid, and offer, materialises.
Written by Michael Jones
Follow Michael on Twitter @jonesmichael_97
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