Arsenal's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is reportedly a target for incoming Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola, while Barcelona's Sergi Samper would prefer to stay with the Catalan giants than pursue a move to England.
According to an exclusive from the Times' Henry Winter, Guardiola is interested in recruiting the England international when he rebuilds the squad this summer and aims to deploy Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right wing, opposite Raheem Sterling on the left.
The 22-year-old is a somewhat divisive player—his impressive dribbling, versatility and tireless work rate help him stand out, but his lack of end product lets him down. Indeed, in 100 Premier League appearances, the winger has just seven goals and 11 assists to his name.
Sports writer Rob Lancaster isn't a fan:
What exactly is an Oxlade-Chamberlain? The dictionary defines it as: "A promising talent who has no real position and flatters to deceive"— Rob Lancaster (@RobLancs79) February 14, 2016
Bleacher Report UK's Karl Matchett compared his stats with Liverpool's Adam Lallana, and revealed that while the former regularly beats players in take-ons, he rarely makes incisive contributions going forward or racks up significant minutes on the pitch:
For those who value tangible end product overall, over those entire 4 seasons Ox-C posts goal/assist every 366 mins, Lallana every 230 mins.— Karl Matchett (@karlmatchett) March 9, 2016
From a Man City perspective, Simon Bajowksi of the Manchester Evening News believes Guardiola will have little need to recruit in his position given the talent pool available in the club's academy:
Oxlade-Chamberlain to #MCFC would raise eyebrows in the academy. Attacking midfield one of the positions they're strongest in— Simon Bajkowski (@spbajko) March 9, 2016
Should Arsenal sell him?
Though Oxlade-Chamberlain's development is yet to progress as many would have predicted when he joined Arsenal, he still has time on his side, and a move away from the Emirates Stadium could reignite his career.
After losing so many players to City in the past—such as Samir Nasri, Emmanuel Adebayor, Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy—the Gunners may be reluctant to allow him to go there, though.
Meanwhile, Samper is hoping to stay with the Blaugrana and fight for a place in the side, according to Didac Peyret of Sport English, with the club also hoping to extend his contract despite "offers for him in England."
The youngster has been linked with a move to the Gunners in recent times, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t Joe Short of the Express).
Samper is also proving divisive, as Spanish football expert Sergi Dominguez rates him highly:
Samper and Aleña both in Barça's squad to face Valencia tonight. My favourite two La Masia prospects.— Sergi Domínguez (@FutbolSergi) February 10, 2016
However, football journalist Rafael Hernandez believes he is struggling to live up to his potential:
I’m not giving up, but it’s clear Samper development has sadly stalled, worrying signs. https://t.co/QoSGXEAUSh— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) February 11, 2016
Samper already halfway through the “He was never good enough for Barcelona anyway” journey. That’s what atrocious youth management does.— Rafael Hernández (@RafaelH117) February 11, 2016
The central midfielder has six assists for Barcelona B this season. Here are some of his highlights:
As one would expect from a product of Barca's La Masia academy, the 21-year-old is a cultured player who can pass well and possesses excellent technique.
These skills would likely see him fit in well at Arsenal, though if both club and player are hoping for him to stay, it's unlikely he'll be on the move any time soon.