Arsenal could face a fight to keep hold of England duo Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jack Wilshere this summer after reports of interest from Premier League rivals Liverpool and West Ham United emerged.
Alex Stevens of Football Insider reported Liverpool are interested in taking Oxlade-Chamberlain away from the Emirates Stadium, where manager Arsene Wenger is said to value his fringe star at £30 million.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has struggled to tie down a regular starting place in north London since joining the Gunners in 2011, and that trend has continued this season, with the player starting in 17 of his 33 total games.
Yet despite his failure to feature prominently for Wenger in recent years, Oxlade-Chamberlain wishes to remain at Arsenal and fight for his place, according to Bleacher Report's Dean Jones:
Bleacher Report UK @br_uk
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain not interested in move away from #Arsenal, wants to sign new deal | @DeanJonesBR https://t.co/xdOxsbeXa92016-3-8 11:11:19
Liverpool are hoping the promise of more first-team minutes at Anfield will be enough to tempt the playmaker away from north London. However, the Times' Henry Winter recently reported inbound Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola is also interested in the player.
Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown can't see Wenger selling his player, though. When asked in a Daily Mail Q&A session if there would be a summer exodus at the Emirates, he responded:
That’s a tricky question. The basis of Arsene Wenger’s management has always been loyalty. He is loyal to his staff and is loyal to his players. He’s very solid and stable in everything he does.
There are rumours of people like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott departing but I don’t think Wenger will allow those players to leave. He won’t want to make radical changes.
According to Stevens, Arsenal are in talks to extend Oxlade-Chamberlain's £52,000-a-week contract, which expires in the summer of 2018, and Liverpool may feel they're capable of topping that offer as they look to lure their target.
The England midfielder is yet to make an appearance for the Gunners this campaign since suffering an injury in pre-season, but Hammers chief Slaven Bilic appears willing to take a chance on his health.
Despite his injury troubles, Arsenal are understood to value their homegrown asset at around £20 million, and West Ham hope Wilshere's history as a Hammers supporter might tempt him to join their cause.
James Olley of the London Evening Standard recently gave an update on Wilshere's recovery progress and illustrated just how tedious his fitness woes have been of late:
James Olley @JamesOlley
Wilshere prognosis is "three or four weeks" before returning. Again. Been that way for about, er, three or four weeks.2016-3-4 09:27:56
This could be the second season in which Wilshere fails to make an appearance for Arsenal should he fail to come back before May, and the club may finally lose patience with their sidelined star and choose to cut ties.
If that is the case, a local move to east London outfit West Ham could make for an easy transition, but £20 million is a steep figure for a player whose longevity is far from guaranteed.