Arsenal have ruled out the possibility of moving talented youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in the near future amid rumours Turkish club Galatasaray are planning a move for the England international. Meanwhile, the Gunners are desperately looking to offload Mathieu Flamini before the end of the transfer window.
ESPN FC's Peter O'Rourke reported the news and noted the Turkish transfer window closed on Monday, so any plans Galatasaray must have had were with an eye on the future.
Reports of Galatasaray's interest started spreading on Monday night, per the Daily Mirror's John Cross, but fans and pundits quickly shot down the possibility of a move. Bleacher Report UK put it this way:
Oxlade-Chamberlain remains one of the Gunners' top young talents despite having already made over 120 appearances for the club, per O'Rourke, and while he may not be an automatic starter, his role within manager Arsene Wenger's squad continues to expand.
According to WhoScored.com, he's featured in every Premier League match this season, starting two. While he's yet to score or provided an assist, his raw athleticism and constant movement have already made an impact on the pitch, creating plenty of space for team-mates to exploit.
The 22-year-old has been more adventurous than ever this season, as evidenced by this stat from Squawka:
As an English―and therefore homegrown―youngster with huge potential and the versatility to play as a winger or in the midfield, Oxlade-Chamberlain is an incredibly valuable piece of Arsenal's squad. The idea Galatasaray could just swoop in and bring him to Turkey makes little sense.
Turkish clubs have added a number of big players during the summer transfer window, with the likes of Robin van Persie and Nani moving to Fenerbahce, for instance. But most of these signings involved either ageing players or those who didn't appear to have a real future at their current clubs.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is neither. He's a young England international central to Wenger's plans, and unless his career at the Emirates Stadium completely bottoms out, he won't be leaving the Premier League anytime soon.
Team-mate Flamini was also reportedly being eyed by Galatasaray, per the MailOnline's Sami Mokbel, but with the Turkish transfer window now closed, the Gunners will have to look elsewhere if they wish to part with the Frenchman and his £60,000-per-week wages.
The 31-year-old isn't expected to play a big role at the Emirates in the 2015-16 campaign following the emergence of Francis Coquelin, and given his minor role in the squad, the Gunners could be tempted to cash in and remove him from the wage bill.
The club didn't push particularly hard to get rid of him before the transfer window closed in the majority of European leagues and won't just settle for any offer, but with British clubs scrambling to finalise their squads, deadline day would be the perfect time for the right offer to arrive.
Flamini isn't a world-beater, but the French midfielder is a veteran, experienced Premier League contributor who is still very much in his prime. He's always given it his all for Arsenal, and he would no doubt relish the chance to earn a starting position elsewhere.
A transfer seems unlikely to happen, however. While £60,000 per week may be a hefty wage packet for a back-up, Flamini happens to play at a position where the Gunners lack depth, and given Coquelin's physical style of play, injuries and suspensions are almost a certainty heading into the 2015-16 season.
Flamini and Mikel Arteta are the prime back-ups at the holding midfielder position, and of the two, Flamini would likely be the first off of the bench, as Arteta appeared in just seven Premier League matches last season, per WhoScored.
Sacrificing depth for the sake of a few pounds doesn't seem like a smart strategy this late in the transfer window, and finding a potential suitor willing to pay Flamini anything close to his current wages won't be easy, either. Unless Wenger has a big move planned at the holding midfielder position, it's hard to see this transfer going through.