Arsenal apparently offered £180,000 p/w for him to stay; I’m glad he didn’t take it. 


The Ox aka Alex Oxlade Chamberlain

On a normal day, he’s an okay player with a lot of speed and power; fuel to burn. On exceptional days, he’s a good player, think Gareth Bale three seasons before Madrid knocked.

I wanted him to stay. Funny, fast, all-muscle-no-fat, our very own ninja-turtle. Michaelangelo.

Arsenal needed bodies. We were unsure of Jack Wilshere, had sold Gabriel, were thinking of flinging Mustafi to Italy, the land of naked sculptures and there was no right thinking Gunner who saw Debuchy as Bellerin’s backup, anybody’s backup in fact. We needed The Ox.

The Curse

Only the really talented have moved on to perform reasonably well at other clubs, even at that, there was never really any place else like the Arsenal cue Robin Van Persie, Nicolas Anelka, Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasir.

Look what became of them though:

Van Persie still scoring but not happy; who wants Turkey when you can do a full English.

Nicolas Anelka, ever the club philanderer, never really finding a place to roost.

Cesc Fabregas, never finding a replacement for the football father figure Wenger was before going prodigal.

And Samir? Samir the talented yet petulant truant, it took a while before someone with enough chutzpah touched him after Manchester City spat him out.

Call me sadistic, vindictive even, cheers.

Then there are the ‘okay’ players, who do just enough at Arsenal and when they leave, we never really hear about them again. They’re stacked up into the pile of football nothingness – Almunia, Diaby, Santos, Podolski, The Ox…?

 

Seemingly having the odds stacked against him with his pre-match interview with the Scousers where he mentioned that he left Arsenal so that he could become a better player, The Ox hasn’t been one to fair too well on débuts.

Or exits…

 

And it’s not because Wenger is without his problems.

Problems? Oh, he’s got ‘little bit’ plenty. But you don’t lay one hundred percent of the blame at Wenger’s feet, there’s the Board and the players.

Especially the players.

There’s this cloud of complacency at the club which all but knocked out the fight from winners like Alexis. It’s like Nigerian civil service where you chill when there’s work to do on your desk. And then when clients complain, they up the anté of the bureaucracy. So except The Ox intends to jump ship every time he’s played anywhere other than central midfield, he better buck down and work to be better than an ‘okay’ midfielder. It’s a new regime; Klopp isn’t Arsene.

The Switchblade

Maybe it’s the question I should have asked when I was pandering for The Ox to stay. Why do I want him to stay? What exactly did he add to the team except that he was the perfect back-up at right back for Hector Bellerin?

That and that he was pure bants.

Thierry Henry, the love of my footballing life, has said what many of us have failed to notice maybe because we’ve been blinded by emotion and are overly concerned that the club is not what it once was. It’s been one game though and The Ox has all season to redeem himself maybe just not in the capacity he thought.