Daniel Cutts made the claim in an exclusive piece for the Sun: “The 22-year-old England has had a disappointing season with the Gunners, making 29 appearances mostly as a substitute. And Saints boss Ronald Koeman is interested in bringing back the Ox to the South Coast where he made his debut at 16.”
It’d be a huge surprise to see any move go through for the England international midfielder, especially at such a late stage.
Granted, minutes have been tough to come by at the Emirates Stadium for Oxlade-Chamberlain as of late, making just seven Premier League starts. Also, he’s yet to find a regular, settled place in the starting XI, being used on the right, left and in the centre of midfield. So the chance to play some regular football would surely be tempting.
Sean Lunt of HITC Sport noted there are plenty of sides other than Southampton that could do with a player of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s quality:
Reports indicating that Southampton are looking at Oxlade Chamberlain. Now that would be a superb signing for Everton.— Sean Lunt (@Sean_Lunt) February 1, 2016
Does Oxlade-Chamberlain have a long-term future at Arsenal?
However, Arsenal need a player of his class in their own squad. More so than any other side in the division, Arsene Wenger’s team seem to pick up injuries, making the 22-year-old’s versatility essential over the course of a long season. His pace, power and industry make Oxlade-Chamberlain the kind of player who can set the tempo for the rest of the side, too.
There will come a time when the England international does get concerned about his playing time and whether or not he has a long-term future at the Emirates. But the final stages of the midseason window don't indicate the right time to make such a crucial decision, even if Southampton do only fancy a temporary deal.
Mathieu Debuchy Latest
Manchester United have reportedly had a late bid to sign Arsenal full-back Mathieu Debuchy turned down, with the defender now expected to move to Bordeaux on loan.
That’s according to RMC journalist Mohamed Bouhafsi (h/t Will Giles of Metro), who suggested it was Wenger who turned down the advances of the Red Devils in respect of the full-back, as he did not want to let the former Newcastle United man temporarily join a Premier League rival. It’s noted by Giles that the Ligue 1 club now looks like the player’s expected destination.
Although United are desperate for full-backs at the moment, with Ashley Young, Matteo Darmian, Luke Shaw, Marcos Rojo and Antonio Valencia all injured, according to PhysioRoom.com, it’s not a deal ESPN FC’s Alex Shaw would have liked to have seen the club pursue:
In fairness, better of United to do no business at all than sign Mathieu flamin' Debuchy.— Alex Shaw (@AlexShawESPN) February 1, 2016
Indeed, Debuchy is much-maligned in some quarters. The Frenchman can be rash and doesn’t offer a great deal going forward. But on the flip side, he’s a composed defender, excellent at closing off spaces and a player who brings a great deal of experience to the position. If needed, he can also do a job at centre-back.
Bordeaux seems a much more suitable move anyway. There, Debuchy will get the regular football he needs to stay in the plans of France manager Didier Deschamps ahead of this summer’s European Championships. At United, should those aforementioned get back to full fitness, the 30-year-old may have been pushed down the pecking order.