Arsene Wenger has revealed that Calum Chambers first caught his eye at the start of this year after an impressive showing for Southampton against Arsenal.
The 19-year-old played at right-back for the Saints in a 2-2 draw at St Mary’s on 28 January and ended up signing for the Gunners exactly six months later after impressing Wenger with his ability to read the game and his willingness to spring into attack.
Reflecting on his decision to sign Chambers as defensive reinforcement, the boss told the official matchday programme:
“The first time I watched him was in our 2-2 draw against Southampton when we played them away last season. I was impressed by his understanding of the game and his interception qualities.
As well as that, I liked the fact that he was early on the ball. His reading of the game and his transition to quickly go forward also stood out, and his touch was good as well.
“I checked his birth date after the game and was very interested.”
Signed for a hefty £16 million after marking only 22 appearances for the Saints, Chambers has gone on to thrive at Arsenal where he’s already made 20 appearances in all competitions, in the process earning himself a couple of caps for England.
The teenager’s accession to the national team has impressed fans and teammates alike, with Kieran Gibbs telling Arsenal Player:
“That’s a sign of someone who’s going to be a great player for the team because he’s made it look easier than it probably is for him at his age.
“You have to admire that and give credit to him. He’s going to be a hell of a player.
“He’s fitted in straight away. I didn’t know him before he came but you feel like you’ve known him for a long time. He’s come into a good group.”