Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has insisted that the club won’t give up on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain after his latest injury setback.
The 22-year-old was ruled out of Euro 2016 this week after suffering another knee injury, with the initial setback keeping him sidelined since February.
While it had been hoped by the Gunners that the forward would have been able to return before the season finished and in turn fought for a place in Roy Hodgson’s squad for France this summer, he will instead continue a rehabilitation program with a view of returning in pre-season.
Despite having two years remaining on his contract, Oxlade-Chamberlain has been linked with an exit from the Emirates this summer as he hasn’t met expectations since his move from Southampton in 2011.
That may be an unfair analysis of a 22-year-old who still has plenty of room for development and can still mature into a top player, but he has struggled to secure a spot in the starting line-up this season with the likes of Alex Iwobi now even ahead of him in the pecking order.
Nevertheless, Wenger will stick by the England international even though he has failed to play in more than 25 league games in a season, while he also yet to score more than two league goals in a single campaign.
“We invested a lot of time [in him], so we will not give up now,” Wenger said, as noted by ESPN FC.
“He’s a fantastic athlete. We don’t see any weakness.”
This is the kind of stubbornness that will continue to irk Arsenal supporters, as Wenger appears to be set to continue to show faith in the players that haven’t been able to end their wait for a Premier League title in recent seasons.
Instead of scouring the transfer market for upgrades, the French tactician could end up heading into next season with a very familiar group, and that will do little to silence the growing discontent at the Emirates.
While the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain, Theo Walcott, Kieran Gibbs and many others have been decent performers in recent years, it hasn’t been enough to take Arsenal to the next level and there are no signs to suggest that keeping faith in them will see much of a difference being made.
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