A popular talking point in recent weeks has been whether or not Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has improved under Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.
The 24-year-old England International was seen as a budding prospect when Arsenal purchased the player from Southampton in 2011. At Arsenal, “The Ox” did not establish himself as a world-class midfielder, but he never lost the aura of a talented player.
Oxlade-Chamberlain had a solid freshman campaign with the Gunners. He became the youngest player nominated for PFA Young Player of the Year in 2012. They called the following season, the “Year of the Ox.” The youngster struggled with injuries that season and managed six Premier League starts.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was nominated for the prestigious Golden Boy award for 2013. Despite his injury problems. Paul Pogba won the award that year.
Oxlade-Chamberlain played fairly well over the next couple of seasons, yet struggled with inconsistency. These sporadic performances hindered his starts and the midfielder eventually shifted to a wing back role during the 2016/17 season.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger shifted to the new formation midway through the aforementioned season and the Ox featured at both wing back roles (with some success) throughout the final half of the campaign.
However, at Liverpool, Oxlade-Chamberlain plays in his favored midfield position. With the Ox featuring in a more offensive role for the Reds, his attacking statistics would surely be better now than with Arsenal, right?
Despite featuring in the same exact amount of Premier League games at this point of the season compared to last year. His offensive numbers were mostly better with the Gunners.
In spite of these statistics, many pundits are claiming that Oxlade-Chamberlain has taken a giant leap forward as a player with his new club.
While his performances on Merseyside have been excellent, inconsistency is still the player’s biggest obstacle. Much like his Arsenal career, Oxlade-Chamberlain is likely to put in performances on both ends of the spectrum.
Still just 24, the Ox is about to enter his prime and should in fact improve as a player.
This is why Klopp paid £35 million (potentially rising to £40 million) for a player in his final year of his contract. Talented players tend to grow and mature as they age. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a talented player. Ultimately, both Arsenal and Liverpool should be content with the Ox deal. Arsenal received a large chunk of change for a player that was not a regular starter, and Liverpool bought a capable player about to enter his prime.