Since the departure of Alex Song, Arsenal fans have been looking for the club to sign a new midfielder. Perhaps the answer lies closer to home.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is emerging as a real contender for a midfield role this season. Despite playing wide in most of his games in the last campaign – something the manager likes to do with young players – he played in the centre of midfield during pre-season and when fit could provide another option for the boss to consider.
Although he’s listed as a ‘striker’ on the official website, and Ox’s versatility makes him hard to pin down at this stage, he’s enjoying the more central role and showed he’s capable with a fine performance against AC Milan in the Champions League last season. In a Q&A with the Mirror, he said, ” I’ll play anywhere, as long as I’m playing as much as I can. Whether that be out wide or centre mid, if the boss gives me the nod then I’m overwhelmed. If not then I’ve just got to keep working hard at both positions.
“Last season I did play the majority on the wing when I did play and had a few games in centre mid. But the boss has been pushing more this season to try my hand in a more central position. But I think he always knows I can go out wide as well if needed and so I think that’s helpful for me and helpful for the team.”
And although the youngster might well vie with new signing Santi Cazorla for the attacking midfield role he’s been impressed by the Spaniard since his arrival at the club.
“He’s brilliant. He’s a typical Spanish player: really technical, he’s got a right foot, left foot. He can dribble. He’s a really clever player, he’s only small but he’s physical. So I think that highlights how good he is with his feet and his mind. From what I’ve seen so far of him in training, he’s brilliant. A really good asset to the squad.
“I think we saw on Saturday what he’s capable of. I think he had a good game. There were a lot of clever things he was doing and I’m really looking forward to seeing him for the rest of the season. I played with him in Cologne in midfield and I got on really well with him there. It was me and Francis Coquelin and him.
“You know when you buzz off a player and you can bounce off him and you get good vibes and are on the same wavelength. I had that with Santi in that game. But he has that with everyone because he’s just a brilliant player. It’s really good to have him.”