Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 17, has officially joined Arsenal from Championship side Southampton for an estimated fee of £12 million plus a possible further £3 million in add-ons.
Arsenal’s official website has confirmed this, stating:
Joining the Southampton Academy at the age of seven, Alex quickly excelled through the ranks of the club’s successful youth set-up, making his first team debut in March 2010 at the age of just 16 years and 199 days. In doing so, Alex became the second youngest ever appearance maker for Southampton after Theo Walcott.
A quick, attacking player, Oxlade-Chamberlain played an integral role in Southampton’s promotion campaign from League One in 2010/11, making 41 appearances and scoring 10 goals in the season. His impressive performances earned him a place in the PFA League One Team of the Year 2010/2011, voted by his fellow professionals.
Alex, who can operate on either wing or as an attacking central midfielder, has also represented England at Under-18, Under-19 and Under-21 levels.
After sealing the deal to bring the young prospect to Emirates Stadium, Arsène Wenger said: “We are delighted that Alex has decided to join us.
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“He is an exciting young player who will provide us with creativity and offensive quality. Alex is a versatile player who can play in a number of positions. He can play as an attacking centre midfielder, or wide left and right.
“Alex is a perceptive passer of the ball and has a great understanding of the game and looks to be a very good team player.”
Wenger continued: “Alex has done extremely well during his development with Southampton and we are looking forward to him progressing even further and fulfilling his huge potential with Arsenal Football Club.”
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who celebrates his 18th birthday next Monday, said: “I’m so excited to be joining Arsenal. It’s a fantastic club and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity of playing football at the highest level.
“Arsenal have a great manager in Arsène Wenger, top quality players and an attractive style of play. These were all important factors in me choosing to sign for Arsenal.
“I’m proud to be joining Arsenal, but I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Southampton for their help and support during the early part of my career, for which I will always be grateful.”
Alex concluded: “I’m now looking forward to meeting all my new team mates and giving absolutely everything in an Arsenal shirt.”
Alex will go into the Arsenal first-team squad and immediately start training at London Colney in readiness for the start of the new season.
Is this the signing of ‘super quality’ that Wenger had promised fans? Personally I hope not, as I’m sure Oxlade-Chamberlain will be a great player, but he is still ‘one for the future’ and we need defensive reinforcements of ‘super quality’ NOW before the season starts. I’m baffled as to why Wenger can splash out £12-15m on a 17 year old that hasn’t played any higher than League One, but can’t spend around that figure on a proven, quality centreback. The deal sounds very Andy Carroll-esk.. BUT welcome to Arsenal Alex, and good luck!