Arsenal are minded to sell Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to their London rivals Chelsea rather than Liverpool – because Arsene Wenger believes his side are more likely to compete with the latter for a top-four spot.
Despite Chelsea’s poor start to the season with an opening-day defeat to Burnley, the Blues recovered well to beat Tottenham 2-1 at Wembley and Antonio Conte’s side look set to go on a late shopping spree at the end of the transfer window.
Conte has Oxlade-Chamberlain, Leicester City’s Danny Drinkwater and Everton midfielder Ross Barkley high on his wanted list ahead of Thursday’s deadline and the Italian is confident he can pull off a move for the Arsenal man
Wenger will want to secure a fee of around £40m and is hopeful of a bidding war ensuing between the two teams, but our colleagues at Mirror Football claim the manager would rather sell the winger to the reigning champions.
Liverpool and Chelsea are both being forced to deal wiith the added workload of participating in European football this season and are keen to strengthen each of their squads before business is wrapped up until January.
And Wenger believes Chelsea have the stronger squad than Liverpool, leading him to believe that, if he has to sell Chamberlain, he would prefer to sell the player to Conte over Jurgen Klopp.
There is no active desire on Arsenal’s part to offload a player coming into his prime but having entered the final year of his contract, Oxlade-Chamberlain holds all the aces.
Wenger has previously admitted his wish to keep the player and he remains vehement that nether Alexis Sanchez nor Mesut Ozil will leave the club despite also having less than 12 months to run on their respective contracts.
And he also believes Chelsea will be strong title challengers once more, with or without the Ox, but thinks Liverpool may have to battle for a top-four slot with their added European fixtures to negotiate and does not want to strengthen their chances by handing them Chamberlain.
The report adds that Chelsea are open to meeting Arsenal’s asking price for The Ox, who is rumoured to have turned down a £180,000-a-week contract offer in recent days.