Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has voiced his delight at the signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, after the Anfield club beat off competition from rivals Chelsea for his signature, the England international will cost The Reds £35 million and he has signed a five-year contract, according to SkySports.
“I am really, really happy we have got Alex signed. Since the last game I have been waiting and hoping we could make this transfer – and when I got the news he was ours it was fantastic.
“I remember the first time I saw him play live – it was at Dortmund in 2014 and he came on as a sub that day and made a big impact. He stood out immediately because of his pace and skills and his attitude in such a big game for a young player; I remember him chasing back to make a brilliant challenge on Mkhitaryan in the box to save a certain goal.
“We won that game but lost the return match at Arsenal when he started and played well, I think he hit the post. Since then I have followed him and when I heard it may be possible to sign him I didn’t need to think twice.” Klopp stated.
Many observers have questioned the wisdom of paying £40 million for a player who has struggled to hold down a regular starting berth at the Emirates over the years, but that is more a reflection of the current transfer market in general than the merits of this particular deal.
Despite his undoubted talent there are still major question marks over Chamberlain’s best position and where exactly he will fit into Klopp’s Liverpool side.
After seven seasons under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage at Arsenal it’s still unclear what type of player the 24-year-old is, is he a winger, a central midfielder or a wing-back ?
If he is to be deployed as a winger he will surely struggle to dislodge the impressive duo of Sadio Mane and Mo Salah from The Red’s starting XI.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made 132 PL apps in just over 6 seasons at Arsenal – never made more than 17 PL starts in a single season pic.twitter.com/0vflunKzRh
— Sky Sports Statto (@SkySportsStatto) August 31, 2017
Klopp’s preference for a 4-3-3 formation also seems to rule out the possibilitity of Liverpool’s new signing playing as a wing-back, a position in which he has excelled for Arsenal recently.
Chamberlain has previously stated that he would like to eventually end up as a central midfielder and many believe that the fact Antonio Conte wanted to sign him to compete with Victor Moses for the right wing-back position at Chelsea, may have been a contributing factor in him snubbing the Blue’s interest.
However, considering The Ox was unable to get a game in a Gunners midfield that was torn to pieces by Liverpool’s trio of Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Gini Wijnaldum last Sunday, it’s likely that Liverpool may have signed him as more of a squad player than a starter. Klopp also has Adam Lallana and Phillipe Couthinho to come back into the reckoning for midfield spots, further complicating matters for Chamerlain.
The dynamic ex-Arsenal youngster definitly has the all-round skill set required to flourish in a central midfield role, although whether he possesses the required awareness and tactical discipline is very much open to debate.
There is no doubt Liverpool have signed a very talented footballer, but where he fits into Klopp’s side still remains to be seen.
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