Arsene Wenger conducted his pre-match press conference today ahead of their trip to Anfield on Sunday, and one of the topics up for discussion was, unsurprisingly, the future of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. The 24-year-old now has less than a year left on his contract, appears unwilling to sign a new one, and is garnering serious interest from rivals Chelsea. And while Wenger did not want to address the rumors of a potential showdown meeting between the club’s leadership and the versatile homegrown midfielder, he did make it a point to position this issue as one of loyalty, commitment, and responsibility. If Arsenal are to budge on their non-selling stance, that’s a decent bit of groundwork to lay to control the future narrative and analysis.
“I want Alex to stay at the club and be one of the big players of the future of the club, he's one of the players the team has to be built around in future. I want him to commit to the club and be one of the carriers of this team.
"I know of every bid we have, of course, but I think it's best to focus on Sunday's game.
"We invested a lot of time and money and confidence in players like Chamberlain and for me he has a responsibility to the club. I want to keep my best players – my only target is to keep everyone on board. I hope he commits."
-Arsene Wenger; source: FourFourTwo
So all that’s a bit sanctimonious, especially considering that Oxlade-Chamberlain is not an Arsenal academy product but rather a big-money (especially for a teenager in 2011) £15-18m transfer from Southampton, but the line I found most interesting was “I know of every bid we have,” which I read as implicit confirmation that (probably) Chelsea do actually have a bid submitted. While that seems academic, we’ve had multiple rumors this summer where after weeks and months of speculation, it turned out that Chelsea hadn’t even submitted a bid (e.g. Lukaku). So at least we’ve got a bid, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.
Now to get this (and a couple others) over the line sometime in the next seven days...