St Mary’s starlet set for Emirates move.
Arsenal have agreed to sign Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for £12million, with the starlet undergoing a medical with the north London side.
The 17-year-old will follow in the footsteps of former St Mary’s speedster, Theo Walcott, and move to the Emirates.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been keeping an eye on the England U21 international for some time and has had a £10million bid rejected in the past.
The new offer comprises £7million up front with the another £5million in sell-ons.
The deal also includes a 30% sell-on fee for Southampton, which chairman Nicola Cortese was adamant in including.
Oxlade-Chamberlain will become Arsenal’s third major signing of the summer following the arrival of Gervinho from Lille and Carl Jenkinson from Charlton Athletic.
The teenager is contracted at Southampton until 2013 and is regarded as one of England’s most promising young footballers.
He played a key role in helping Southampton secure promotion to the Championship last season, firing nine goals in 34 appearances.
Known for his pace and ability to beat defenders, he can operate on either side of the pitch.
His style has invited comparisons with Walcott though Oxlade-Chamberlain is a better defender who is comfortable in central midfield as well as out wide.
Manchester United and Liverpool have also expressed interest in the Southampton academy product, but Arsenal appear to have pulled off a transfer coup.
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.
“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.”
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.
“I’m now looking forward to meeting all my new team mates and giving absolutely everything in an Arsenal shirt.”