Two months down, one month to go. We’re now in August and the transfer window slams shut at the end of the month. The season starts well before then, even, so time is starting to be of the essence. Chelsea have the bare minimum of a squad at the moment, which might be good enough for the league, but is unlikely to be good enough to challenge on multiple fronts with multiple games per week. Depth is needed and quality depth at that.
So here’s a rumor from the Express to get somewhat excited about. It’s the Express, so hard to get too excited about it, but according to Tony Banks, Chelsea are “poised to make a £25million move” for Arsenal “contract rebel” Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
EXPRESS Chelsea boss Antonio Conte plans to make Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a star wing-back https://t.co/RBYrZNMvNC— Chelsea FC RSS Feeds (@CFCrss) July 31, 2017
What does add a bit of extra promise is that this isn’t the first time we’re hearing of a potential move for The Ox. Here’s the Telegraph running with a similar last week, and here’s Sky from the week before then. And it simply makes sense, too: homegrown, still young, versatile, wing-back, midfield, attack, etc.
And then there’s Arsenal rather strange approach to all their players with expiring contracts — either this year like Oxlade-Chamberlain, or next year like Alexis or Özil — wherein they’ve convinced themselves that this is the best thing for all involved. Thanks, Arsène!
“Not at all. I think it's an ideal situation. Because everybody has to perform. When you're a football player you perform until the last day of your contract. What does it change if you have two years on one year to go?”
-Arsène Wenger; source: ESPN
Wenger’s stacking of the deck in favor of the players is admirable, but he’s royally screwing over his own club by so willingly submitting to player control. Of course it’s in a (young and/or highly valuable) player’s interest to not get locked down to a long-term contract. The smaller risk of debilitating injury is vastly outweighed by the greater benefit of open market bidding and the potential riches that await. Players should be signing short-term contracts; clubs should be looking to tie down players as long as possible (or as long as it makes sense for their age and performance levels). Wenger’s approach is hilarious and Chelsea should be taking advantage when the Arsenal money-men realize what a foolish path Wenger’s leading them on.
When Oxlade-Chamberlain (and/or Alexis Sánchez) become available, we need to be first in line with a wheelbarrow full of cash and a thank you note.
(And if it’s really £25m that gets the Ox deal done, then go go go go go go go go...)