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Arsenal: Chamberlain on Allardyce ‘Boot’; Pires on Wenger; Ozil and Sanchez negotiation

The international break has come at an inconvenient time for Arsenal after five straight Premier League wins, and Arsene Wenger will be hoping his stars return unscathed. One of those on international duty is Alex Oxlade Chamberlain who was called up to Gareth Southgate’s first England squad ahead of Malta and Slovenia.

The former Southampton winger had a dismal campaign last year, enduring a crisis of confidence and a serious knee injury. However, with Joel Campbell and Serge Gnabry moved out of the door during the summer, there is an opportunity for Chamberlain to establish himself on one flank.

Despite scoring a few goals and playing a part in the Gunners’ late winning goal at Burnley, he has yet to fully convince. His teammate Theo Walcott, he suffered international disappointment when he was left out of Sam Allardyce’s England and he has spoken about the jolt that gave him:

“It provided a real kick up the backside.

“I have been playing for England since I was 18 and, while I wouldn’t say I took it all for granted, it just seemed to be a part of my season – to play for Arsenal and for England.

“And so, to be available and feeling good and fit – but not to be in the squad was a jolt. It was a wake-up call.

“I am not young now, I am 23, so you need to be performing and playing as much as you can to deserve a chance to go and play for England. So, being back in the set-up now makes me realise how special it is and it is something I want to keep happening in the foreseeable future.”

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Like Walcott, one has to wonder why such a kick was necessary. Chamberlain is an extremely bright person and very conscientious about his work; he is certainly not idle. However, as Wenger has publicly stated in the past, he has a propensity to be too self-critical following poor performances and this leads to troughs in his confidence.

Chamberlain has every attribute you could possibly want in an attacking player; he is quick, has great physique, can dribble, has vision and has a powerful shoot off either foot. However, he has struggled to translate this into tangible performances and seems to have trouble forming on-field relationships with his team mates.

Elsewhere, Arsenal legend Robert Pires has said that the part-time nature of international football would not appeal to Wenger following speculation that the FA are interested in him taking the England job. The Arsenal boss’ contract runs out in the summer, and the trajectory of Arsenal’s season will dictate whether or not he stays on. Pires though, thinks his former boss will find the job difficult to walk away from:

“It would be a great opportunity for England, I don’t know if it would be for Arsene Wenger. It’s not the same job, club or country.

“This guy loves the pitch every morning. It’s a passion. It’s an obsession. It’s not really the same when you manage a country.

“If he takes this job he would need to adapt to the new challenge, it’s not really the same.”

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Finally, Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez are reportedly demanding £250,000 per week as their contract negotiations ramble on. The Independent report that their increased demands are a result of the new TV money in the English game and the inflation this brings, as well as the weakness of Sterling following the Brexit vote in June.

Wayne Rooney is the Premier League’s highest player on £260,000 with Sergio Aguero not too far behind. However, it is worth noting that these details are publicised frequently during negotiations and there may be a difference between what Ozil and Sanchez demand and what they are willing to accept.

Featured image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal

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