The Times on Saturday have an exclusive interview with Liverpool new boy Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Arsenal reportedly offered the 24-year-old a massive £185,000-per-week deal to remain in North London during the summer.
Chelsea also tried to sign the Ox, however the England international ultimately joined Liverpool on transfer deadline day.
Liverpool shelled out 35 million pounds on the Arsenal star, while the Ox agreed a five-year deal to stay at Anfield.
Why the Ox left Arsenal
Oxlade-Chamberlain has been very clear about why he felt the need to leave Arsenal.
Of course, his final match for the Gunners was the 4-0 defeat at Liverpool.
According to Ox, he had to leave Arsenal for the sake of his career. Indeed, in a telling sentence that clearly outlines the player’s thinking, the Ox told the Times:
I can’t apologise for my decision to leave. I want to get more out of myself.
I could have stayed at Arsenal and progressed there maybe — you never know what can happen — but I felt the main thing was taking myself out of my comfort zone and really push myself to achieve as much as I can in a team and a position where I want to progress. That’s why Liverpool shouted out for me.
Many will interpret those comments as the Ox having a dig at Arsene Wenger.
Did the Arsenal manager coach and develop Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as he could have? From the player’s perspective, the answer seems to be ‘no’.
It’s also worth noting how the Ox talked about new boss Jurgen Klopp. One has to imagine that Oxlade-Chamberlain was comparing Klopp to Wenger when he said:
Having been someone on the outside looking in, I couldn’t help but notice what the manager [Klopp] is doing here, and wondering what it would be like to play for a character like that.
He’s very inspirational, passionate, involved and intense. I felt that was something that could gee me up.
Wenger is often criticised for staying slumped in his seat in the dugout as the Gunners flounder on the pitch.
That’s very different to Klopp’s coaching style.
Playing for Liverpool
Many have also wondered how the Ox will fit into Jurgen Klopp’s side.
Liverpool already seem well-stocked with midfielders. While it’s been widely reported that the Ox wants to play in central midfield rather than shunted out on the wings.
The Ox has discussed tactics with the Times, and how he sees himself fitting in at Anfield:
The idea of playing centrally is definitely something I like. When I got that opportunity at Arsenal I enjoyed it. I liked having more of the ball.
The main reason I came here was the understanding I’d be playing further up the pitch and in a more attacking role, and more opportunities centrally to express that. I wouldn’t say central midfield, I’d say an attacking midfielder.
That’s the beauty of this Liverpool team: you can be one of four attacking positions, everywhere except striker, and have that attacking-midfielder influence. The wingers tend to not be so wide all the time, they start inside to go out or out to come in, similar to England at the moment.