Oh Arsenal fans, it looks like your week is just about to get worse.
Going into the office on Monday morning after a 4-0 hammering from Liverpool at the weekend isn’t great, but combine that with the news that you are selling one of your best English players to a big rival is just the icing on the proverbial cake.
What makes it worse is that Arsenal are apparently more keen to sell to Chelsea than Liverpool as they see the Reds as more of a threat to their top four prospects, thus implying that Chelsea are just a division above the Gunners.
He has turned down a new contract at the Emirates so now Arsenal are just keen to get the deal done and dusted and maybe reinvest the transfer money, although realistically that last part is doubtful to happen.
From a Chelsea perspective, this deal makes perfect sense. There is a desire from within the club to have a stronger English contingent and that is clear from their transfer policy in the latter half of this window with moves in place for not just Oxlade-Chamberlain but also for Danny Drinkwater of Leicester and Ross Barkley of Everton.
All three are internationals, English, and in Drinkwater they will be reuniting the midfield partnership that dominated the league two years ago to win the title in the form of Drinkwater and Kante at Leicester. What is not alarming but eyebrow raising to say the least, is the size of the wage package that the Ox will be earning at West London.
He is set to become Chelsea’s highest paid player with a weekly salary of £260,000 p/week, to put that into perspective Chelsea’s highest paid player is currently Eden Hazard on £200,000, Diego Costa is earning £165,000, with Fabregas and Morata on £150,000. Wages will soon be coming in line with the increased transfer prices and Chelsea will need to act on that, not just to fend off interest in their players from potential suitors but also to get a clear dressing room hierarchy.
Players don’t complain about money because they feel that it isn’t enough to live, it evidently is, they complain because the wage structure represents a hierarchy. Oxlade-Chamberlain is not a better player than Willian, Hazard, Fabregas, Morata, Costa etc, and they will all know that. So if a new player of lesser ability comes in on nearly twice as much money they will raise that complaint at some point or other, however if what we hear about Conte is true, their request may be shouted down.
The Ox has been a solid 6/10 for Arsenal over the years as a central midfielder or winger but I believe that Chelsea will use him to provide Victor Moses with competition for the role of right wing back, a position in which the Englishman excelled at the end of last season.
If this deal goes ahead; and there are no reasons why it shouldn’t, then Chelsea are the clear winners here. People will point to the transfer cost and say that it’s just too much, but in the summer where Jonny Evans may go for £37m and Sigurdsson costs £50m, I’d say this is about as balanced as you’ll find in a transfer window already bordering on the realms of lunacy.
Written by Olly Norman.