Leicester City are ready to raid Arsenal in a bid to add established Premier League talent to their title-winning squad, according to the Sunday papers.
Reports on Sunday from The Mirror suggest that Claudio Ranieri has identified Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as the perfect addition to his midfield as he looks to build a squad capable of competing in both Europe and the Premier League next season.
First team chances will be limited for Oxlade-Chamberlain should he stay at Arsenal next season. There is no realistic chance of him playing in a central role, and even on the wings he has been outperformed by the likes of Joel Campbell. Leicester would hope they could help him realise his huge potential though and at 22, he still has plenty of time to do that. Arsenal would be looking for at least the £15million they paid Southampton for the youngster, should they sell.
Chamberlain would be competing with the likes of Marc Albrighton and Jeffrey Schlupp for a first team berth, or maybe even act as a replacement for Riyad Mahrez should the Algerian leave the club this summer. Statistically, Chamberlain looks like a good improvement for the Foxes – although he is nowhere near Mahrez’ level, he is comfortably ahead of Schlupp in terms of goals scored per 90 minutes, successful take ons, key passes and pass completion. The same can be said about Albrighton, who only matches up in terms of key passes per 90 minutes (1.83). Chamberlain’s pass completion is a lot higher (82%) than Albrighton (64%) or Schlupp (73%) but that is testament to Arsenal and Leicester City’s differing styles of play. Leicester are anything but a possession based team and that may in fact favour Chamberlain who perhaps does not fit the ‘Arsenal way of playing’ like Wenger would have hoped he would. This move could actually be mutually beneficial and allow Arsenal to sign a player more suited to their eye-pleasing football.
Chamberlain can be frustrating in a fluid, possession-orientated Arsenal team, but in a side that often plays on the break and is less concerned about players giving the ball away, he may thrive. He’s also young and ambitious and that’s the type of mentality of player Ranieri would surely like to add to a squad that has just won the title – he wants more fearless attitudes.
If the Gunners do decide to sell then it is likely that Southampton would also be interested – and Arsenal could look to involve Chamberlain in some kind of swap deal for Saido Mane.