Arsenal wanted to make Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain the latest member of their £100,000-a-week club, though he turned their initial offer on a five-year deal down.
His future is unclear. The 23-year-old’s contract expires at the end of next season and Chelsea and Manchester City have been mentioned, but Liverpool are the ones who have looked at him closely.
With a £25million price tag on his head, Oxlade-Chamberlain is prioritising playing time over what he is paid, though there are unanswered questions.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may swap Arsenal for Liverpool this summer to further this career
Would he be guaranteed more games at Liverpool than Arsenal? Would he get his wish of a position in central midfield? Would he be a consistent starter under Jurgen Klopp?
This is a World Cup year and the England international knows he has to nail down a regular role in a top team, if Gareth Southgate is to do the same in Russia.
In six years at Arsenal, it hasn’t happened.
Last season, he appeared 29 times in the Premier League – 16 as a starter, 13 as a substitute. It was his most minutes played in a season (1,562) and he got two goals and seven assists.
In six years at Arsenal Oxlade-Chamberlain has failed to nail down a regular starting place
A move to Anfield could provide a boost for the Ox, though game-time is not guaranteed
It made 2016-17 his greatest season so far as he was involved in nine goals. Before that, his best was four (in 2012-13 and 2013-14).
Overall, in 129 league games for Arsenal, he has nine goals, though the constant changing of his position may have contributed to those unimpressive scoring statistics.
Arsene Wenger says all the right things – that he rates him, that he is in his plans, that he has Arsenal values – though Oxalde-Chamberlain’s name is often then not in the XI.
Would it be at Liverpool?
Like Michail Antonio at West Ham, Oxlade-Chamberlain is quick, strong and has shown his versatility, having played in midfield, winger and wing-back positions at Arsenal.
As a utility man, he is handy for filling the gaps left by those injured, yet what Oxlade-Chamberlain wants is a midfield job.
At Arsenal, he is losing out to Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka, while Jack Wilshere is set to be back in the squad and Mohamed Elneny is there too. Elsewhere, Santi Cazorla is on his way back and Francis Coquelin is also available.
At Liverpool, he could likewise struggle for a spot.
They liked a 4-3-3 last season and are in for Naby Keita, a central midfielder at RB Leipzig. They have Jordan Henderson, Emre Can and Adam Lallana, who was in fine form last season. Then there’s Gini Wijnaldum and another option in Marko Grujic, among others.
The Ox finds himself behind both Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka in the Arsenal pecking order
Liverpool are deep in midfield reserves however, with Jordan Henderson and Emre Can
They’ve signed Mohamed Salah from Roma for £39m and up front have Philippe Coutinho, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino.
What Oxlade-Chamberlain doesn’t want is a sideways step.
With no Champions League football, it has been said opportunities at Arsenal will be all the more limited, though they have the Europa League to compete in.
Liverpool, on the other hand, are in Europe’s elite competition.
Wenger says he wants Oxlade-Chamberlain to stay but, with no new contract signed, this summer is their last chance to make money off of the player they signed for £12m in 2011.
’When you are somewhere, you have to want to be there first,’ Wenger said in March. ‘After that, the only thing I can say is that personally I rate him highly.
The Ox must make the right move in order to get game time and remain in the England fold
‘I showed that in the way I keep faith in him when he spent long times out injured. He’s developing very well at the moment.
‘I personally wish that he stays at the club because I think he’s a very promising player who developed very well. He looks to have the values that we rate at this club.’
Some feel Oxlade-Chamberlain’s development has been held back by his lack of starts and position. Whether that would come at Liverpool remains to be seen.