Arsenal boss Arene Wenger has confirmed he wants midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to stay at the Emirates.
Arsenal are yet to open talks over a new contract with the 23-year-old, who has 18 months to run on his current deal at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal are locked in negotiations to extend the deals for Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil who have similar terms remaining on their existing deals, but Wenger is adamant Oxlade-Chamberlain is integral to his plans as well
‘I want Oxlade-Chamberlain to stay at the club,’ said Wenger, speaking before overseeing his side’s training session ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Everton.
‘I bought him at a very young age, I think he’s developing well. This season he’s making steps, moving forward.
‘When you’ve invested so much time and work in a player, and the player loves it here and is integrated in the qualities we want him to have….. overall, I want him to stay.’
Oxlade-Chamberlain joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2011 and has won 24 England caps since his 2012 international debut.
‘I believe that first Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s career, like Theo Walcott’s career, has been stopped many times by injuries,’ said Wenger.
He has had many, many setbacks, and I think it’s the first season where he’s had a consistency of presence.
‘They play in positions where maybe the physical demands are higher than any other positions. On the flanks today you need to come up and down, you need to defend as well as being dangerous going forward.
‘So you need to find the level of a good balance, and it demands a little bit of experience.
‘Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is much more efficient going forward now, he can provide, he provided a good final ball for Ozil on Saturday. And he can score goals himself, and that’s what you want from him.
‘We are a squad of 25 people. It’s the position where the physical demands are the most important. That’s subject to more changes than other positions, changes are more frequent and more normal.’