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Why It Might Be Too Early To Write Off Liverpool’s £40million Signing As A Flop

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Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain put on a dismal display against Leicester in Carabao cup

A Big-money Flop? Why It Might Be Too Early To Write Oxlade-Chamberlain Off

Rumours of an impending exit for Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did the rounds for sometime in the summer transfer window. As days passed by, many reports cited Chamberlain’s desire to leave Arsenal with the player refusing to sign a new deal.

Given the 24-year-old was out of contract come the end of the season, Arsenal could do little to stop him and cashing in on him became a wise option for Arsene Wenger and the management.

Chamberlain’s rejection of a new deal alerted Premier League clubs, as interest from Chelsea and Liverpool became known. Premier League champions Chelsea appeared to be in pole position to sign him after agreeing a fee with Arsenal but the player favoured a move to join Liverpool.

“Firstly, I’m delighted to have signed for Liverpool and a big thank-you to everyone here at the FA that has made this possible, using the facilities. It has been a massive help.” Chamberlain said following his deadline day move to which  offered full credits for their palyers.

Chamberlain, then 17-year-old, joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2011, for a fee worth £15m. Inconsistency and injuries saw him not reaching his potential, dubbing his six-year spell with the Gunners as mixed. In Wenger’s new 3-4-3 formation, with which the Frenchman won the FA Cup final against Chelsea in May, Chamberlain, used as a wing-back, found form and finally looked set to fulfil his potential.

But after the win at Wembley, the midfielder revealed,

“I get the ball from deeper and the plays into my hands more. At the end of the day, it’s given me minutes and I’m not one to complain. But, the centre-mid role.. I’ve always wanted to be Steven Gerrard, so I’ve still got a hope of that.”

So Chamberlain’s wish to join Liverpool came as no surprise, with the England international playing his final Arsenal game in a 4-0 defeat against Liverpool. Knowing Ox’s versatility, Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp welcomed him with open hands.

Klopp’s art of ‘gegenpressing’ involves pacy players and with Champions League football returning to Anfield, there was a need for a bigger squad. So the manager was attracted to get Ox, who would fit in as one of the advanced midfielders in his preferred 4-3-3.

Since Ox joined the Reds, the club has suffered a 5-0 mauling against Manchester City, a 2-2 draw against Sevilla in the Champions League group-stage and a 1-1 league draw at home against Burnley. In the Carabao Cup, Liverpool were ousted by Leicester City, with Chamberlain enduring a horrible night on his first Reds start.

Beginning to flourish as a wing-back at Arsenal, it caused a few surprises as to why Chamberlain joined Liverpool. His desire to emulate Gerrard is comprehensible, but the Reds are heavily packed in midfield. Above all, there is no chance for him to start ahead of Sadio Mane, Mohammed Salah and Roberto Firmino; meaning he joined Klopp’s side as a squad member.

By signing him, it seemed like Liverpool would be getting an experienced player but his struggles against Leicester must have left Kop in hysteria. He was undoubtedly Liverpool’s worst player on the night as he failed to exert his influence.

In a side which is in need of more goals from midfield, Chamberlain’s hit-rate is a concern as the player has never scored more than two in a single league campaign. He had 7 assists last year, but still needs to lay on more chances for his team-mates, whenever he’s given a chance, if he wants to nail down his name in the starting 11.

Having played more than 125 league games for Arsenal, Chamberlain was expected to fire from the start. At £40million, it might appear like another transfer gamble by Liverpool.

Yet, it is too early to rate the transfer as a flop. Under Klopp, Chamberlain will get chances to perform and the player should take it with open hands to rub off any further clouds of ambiguity from the Liverpool fans.