Wenger: Alex can have big future at Arsenal
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Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger believes Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can be a key player in the coming years and is determined to keep him at the club.
England international Oxlade-Chamberlain is in the final year of his contract at the Emirates and is a reported target of London rivals Chelsea.
But speaking ahead of his side’s trip to Anfield to face Liverpool in the Premier League on Sunday, Wenger said: “I want to keep my best players. I have only one target, to keep everyone on board.
“We invested a lot of time and confidence and money in players like Alex Chamberlain who we bought at a young age and for me they have the responsibility for the future of this club.
“Alex will be one of the big English players in the coming years and I personally am highly determined to keep him here at the club and I hope he will commit.”
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Wenger, having seen Gabriel join Villareal, said he did not expect fellow defender Shkodran Mustafi to leave during the transfer window, but admitted it was hard to predict what might happen in the final days of August.
“I don’t expect,” he added. “It’s difficult to speak about individual cases because the transfer market in the final seven days it is always very difficult to predict and you have to make quick and sharp decisions.
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“You cannot plan that and then come out in a press conference with how you will respond to any solicitation.”
Having added Alexandre Lacazette for a club record fee and Sean Kolasinac on a free transfer, Wenger claimed he was happy with his lot, despite Sanchez, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Mesut Ozil all being in the last years of their contracts.
But he also admitted there were too many players available to him, adding: “I’m completely happy with the strength of the squad and I’ve said many times I have too many players in our squad.
“Some of them we have no chance to compete for places because we have too much competition for places, which is not good because the players have no chance to play.
“On the other hand, one of the values of this club is to give a chance to young players who deserve it.”
Jack Wilshere was given his chance at a young age, but spent last season on loan at Bournemouth.
And the playmaker made headlines earlier this week after being sent off in an under-23 fixture against Manchester City, for an angry reaction to a bad tackle.
Wenger had sympathy for the player, given the history of injuries that Wilshere has had to deal with, adding: “I can understand a lot, especially what happened to him.
“Ideally he should not have responded at all but when you have gone through what he has gone through you can see with bad tackles it was a human reaction and at the moment he is working very, very hard to come back after his fracture.
“Another setback for him would be terrible. It was a bad tackle.
“You know how much I love Jack, his talent. I started him at the age of 17 but today in football you need consistent presence and what is at stake for Jack, it’s not his talent, his determination, it’s the consistent presence at the top and I hope he can manage to do that. Nobody questions his quality here.”
Sticking with the theme of young players, Wenger welcomed news of the Carabao Cup draw, which took place in China in the early hours of Thursday and saw Arsenal given a home tie against Doncaster Rovers in the third round.
He said: “We want to do well in the league cup, it’s a good opportunity to give young players a chance.
“We have some good young players who have done well in pre-season and in the league cup we will continue to do that.”