Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal to join rivals Liverpool in August 2017, but revealed that it wasn’t his belief in the team that led to his move.
The former Southampton youth product moved to Arsenal a week before his 18th birthday after an impressive breakthrough season with the Saints where he knocked in nine goals and went onto be named the PFA League One Player of the Season.
Arsene Wenger made no mistake in moving quickly to bring him to the Emirates, and while the young Englishman showed great potential and ability, he struggled with injuries which hampered him nailing down a regular starting role in the side.
Liverpool made an offer to sign him in 2017, and the player was offered the choice to stay or go, and he didn’t take the decision lightly, but admits that he left for his own footballing reasons, and not his belief in Arsenal’s potential.
“I wouldn’t say I wanted to leave Arsenal because I didn’t believe we could win,” he said.
“I just didn’t believe I was going to be able to play where I wanted to play and that was it.
“Me winning the Champions League was obviously a dream come true and a massive bonus but I didn’t feel like ‘Ah, I told you so’ [at Arsenal].”
The Ox moved into detail on why it was so hard to decide on whether to quit the club for a new challenge, admitting it was like a ‘family’ for him in North Lond.
“It was a big decision for me to leave a club like Arsenal. It was everything I knew at the top level for seven years,” he added.
“When you’ve been at a club like that for seven years… it’s a club where you love being and it’s more than just a football club, it’s a family culture.
“When I had to make the decision to leave, it was the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make and to be honest there was a part of me that didn’t know if it was the right thing.
“I feel a lot of my best performances for Arsenal came in midfield but I never played consistently in that position.
“The first game of that season I switched with Hector [Bellerin]. First game I played on the left [wing-back], he played on the right and second game we switched.
“I thought ‘I’ve got to take the risk, I’ve got to take the chance. I don’t want to look back at the end and think I didn’t try.’”
I know I wasn’t alone in being unhappy to see the Ox leave the club in 2016, especially to join our rivals, but I might be one of very few who were happy to see him lift the Champions League, despite who he won it with…
The 26 year-old was a loyal servant to Arsenal for a number of years, and manager’s did seem to struggle to find his best position, but he always impressed me no matter where he played. He was just that type of intelligent player that could adapt, and always looked happy to be on the pitch.
Can Wenger take some of the blame for failing to find his best position? Would the Ox be a guaranteed starter in our current midfield?