Arsenal have given the tip to sign Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain again.
Four years after moving from North London to Merseyside, the versatile midfielder has reportedly become a shock target for Gunners manager Mikel Arteta ahead of the January transfer window.
According to The Sun, the Gunners boss is considering the possibility of signing his former teammate again for an initial six-month loan deal with the option of a permanent move at the end of the season.
Signing a midfielder is a priority for Arteta and Edu in the new year, especially as Arsenal will shed some light on this area as Thomas Partey and Mohamed Elneny are expected to leave for the Africa Cup.
Additionally, Granit Xhaka is only just returning from his three-month injury hiatus – assuming his rehabilitation goes according to plan – and therefore is unlikely to be brought back.
With that in mind, there is much to be said for Oxlade-Chamberlain to return as his experience would benefit Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Albert Sambi Lokonga.
However, there are always advantages and disadvantages to consider with any possible deal.
This is no different as the 28-year-old’s rather poor injury record at Liverpool could make it easier for Arteta and Edu to opt out of the midfielder’s return to the club.
According to Transfermarkt, Oxlade-Chamberlain has missed a total of 74 games since joining the Merseyside giants for £ 35million.
Of course, he had two major injuries at Liverpool, which drove the number up, as he played more than 30 Premier League games twice under Jürgen Klopp in four full seasons.
But it’s a similar story from his time at Arsenal.
In total, he missed 81 games for the Gunners, and while consistently making over 20 appearances in all competitions during his six full seasons in North London, his progress stalled repeatedly with a mistake or two that resulted in him missing several weeks Plot.
What could potentially discourage Arsenal fans and Arteta is the fact that Oxlade-Chamberlain’s injury record has barely improved since his departure and there are question marks about his progress.
Is he a better player today than he was four years ago?
While a short-term loan deal would be both financially suitable for the Gunners and add to the number in central midfield, Arteta and Edu can afford to take a risk on a player whose injury record isn’t great and who may not be an improvement on current options ?
It’s often said that the best skill is availability and Arsenal will certainly need it at the start of the new year, but Oxlade-Chamberlain has rarely shown that he can stay injury-free for a full season.