Liverpool’s search for forward options in the next transfer window has apparently led them to North London.
With Philippe Coutinho still not fully fit and Sadio Mané set to depart temporarily for the African Cup of Nations with Senegal within the next week or so, it’s been well-documented that manager Jürgen Klopp is looking to bolster his attacking options to maintain his side’s title challenge.
To that end, the Guardian are reporting that Klopp has identified Arsenal winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as a transfer target in January.
The 23-year-old’s contract is due to expire in 2018, and while Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been positive about the idea of the player getting an extension, as of yet any deal remains unsigned.
Although his form has been much improved from previous campaigns, in what his already his best goalscoring season at the club, he is mindful of the fact that he has still not been able to nail down a first team spot under Wenger. He has previously stated that he will evaluate his options at the end of the season, but it’s hard to know how he would respond to a serious offer from Liverpool were it to arrive early in the new year.
That being said, any deal for the player would be anything but plain sailing. There remains a rather large, Luis Suárez-shaped rift between the two clubs, relating to the £40m+1 bid made in 2013 for the Uruguayan striker that Liverpool rejected out of hand as derisory.
There were also rumours last month that Liverpool had included an ‘anti-Arsenal’ clause into Roberto Firmino’s contract in 2015, suggesting that relations between the two boards were strained to say the least. While they are not completely averse to selling the player, they would be far more open to offers from previous suitors such as West Ham and Southampton.
That is not even to mention the fact that by selling Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool, Arsenal would be directly strengthening a title rival at a time when the clamour for the top four is decidedly fiercer than it has been in the past few years.
The report states that the England international would cost somewhere between £20-25m, taking into account the reality that he would cost less in the summer, and nothing at all in 18 months’ time.
Liverpool have also been linked with other forwards such as Dutch international Quincy Promes – but if Klopp really does want Oxlade-Chamberlain, it will take a monumental effort to prise him away from the Emirates.