Does this pacey Englishman need to leave Arsenal to save his career?

It is strange to think that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still only 22-years-old, for it seems like the ex-Southampton winger has been around forever, but in reality, his career is still very much in early stages of development.

Unfortunately, it has never quite worked out for him as he might have hoped at Arsenal, being considered a bit-part player for the majority of his career. Arsene Wenger will no doubt look to build on his squad this summer, and competition for places looks set to be higher than ever, so is it time for Oxlade-Chamberlain to move on?

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Oxlade-Chamberlain arrived in North London with high expectations, and a £15 million fee hanging heavy around the neck of the 17-year-old. Although in his opening two seasons he showed glimpses of real potential, injury problems started to hamper his career from an early age.

Best Benchwarmer At EVERY Premier League Team

By the age of 22, many Arsenal fans would have expected him to be a first-team regular at the Emirates, but this is still not the case. Last term he completed just one full game in England’s top flight, and 13 of his 22 appearances came from the bench. This is all before he sustained a ligament injury in February which ruled him out for the rest of the campaign – a painful yet arguably fitting end to the season for the former Saints youngster.

The squad at Wenger’s disposal is not short of wingers either, and there are plenty of players that are certainly higher in the pecking order than Oxlade-Chamberlain. Alexis Sanchez; obviously, would get in any Premier League side, and the emergence of Alex Iwobi at the end of last season would rightly be concerning for the Ox.

Ex-Southampton teammate Theo Walcott is also probably higher than him in Wenger’s estimations, albeit his Arsenal career is under scrutiny this summer. Joel Campbell is being used more frequently than Oxlade-Chamberlain, and it is safe to say that Wenger prefers the Costa Rican as an option, almost regardless of the opposition.

German assist king Mesut Özil and Aaron Ramsey have both been used down the wings by Arsene Wenger and if reports are to be believed, Arsenal are after Premier League player of the season, Riyad Mahrez. A signing of this stature would make Oxlade-Chamberlain’s task even harder this coming season.

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Whilst there are no doubts that Oxlade-Chamberlain has quality, it is definitely time for him to move on and build his career elsewhere. You would imagine that he would get in most mid-table Premier League sides, and rumours have already started on potential destinations for the England international.

A return to St. Mary’s with Southampton has been mentioned, which would make sense for all parties involved. Premier League champions Leicester City have also shown an interest in Oxlade-Chamberlain, and with the potential departure of Mahrez, this might be a move which could suit him.

The problem with Oxlade-Chamberlain is he has never really established a momentum strong enough to carry his career forward. When he broke into the team and started playing regularly, an injury was sustained, resulting in the speedster losing his place in the eleven.

This cycle has seemingly continued throughout his Arsenal career. He would be an asset to a great deal of Premier League teams, as his pace and direct running can cause defences problems, and once established in the side, has proven that he is a goal threat.

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There is an opportunity for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to build an Arsenal career still, but it would probably be a better idea to further his footballing stock at a club where he can establish himself as a regular and play weekly.

It is important not to consider him a flop, either. To make 100 Premier League appearances for Arsenal by the age of 22 is no mean feat, and is commendable. At a club where we can see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain playing every week, he might just become the player that we once thought he would, eventually benefiting both the man himself and England too.

Featured Image: All rights reserved by Emrah Partal

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