Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain gave his first post-Arsenal interview to LFCTV and had some very nice words to say about his new manager Jurgen Klopp King of the Kopp and you can’t help but read this as a stinging criticism of his former manager Arsene Wenger.
Ox peppered his interview with phrases like “looking to progress” and “take me to the next level” acknowledging the Arsenal supporters’ critique that in his nearly 7 years at Arsenal he initially impressed but then failed to push on in any meaningful way, eventually staking out a spot for himself as a starter but only in the right back position.
It has been reported that Ox and Wenger had a falling out in the days leading up to the transfer deadline, with Wenger reportedly giving Ox both barrels over the player handing in a transfer request. Perhaps stinging from that meeting, Ox spoke glowingly of Klopp’s personable relationship with his players: “The thing that stood out for me was his relationship with the players, how close he seems to bond with the players on and off the field. That’s massive and it’s definitely a big plus when you’re looking to progress, having that relationship with the manager, that definitely helps.”
Ox stuck the boot in to Arsene’s “beautiful football” when he gave the main reason why he chose Liverpool over Arsenal and Chelsea; “And then obviously the way his teams play, that’s definitely inspirational for me and was one of the instrumental [reasons] – if not the main reason – that I felt this place was definitely the place for me.”
But it was Ox’s self-interest, his desire to grow as a player, which most attracted him to Liverpool, he claims.
“First of all, what he’s achieved, you respect that straight away and how much he knows about the game, and then all his extra attributes – his relationships with the players and how he pushes you, encourages you and what he demands from you – that’s like a bonus. That’s what makes him special in my eyes.”
“That’s one of the reasons why I felt like he was the man I’d want to come and play for because I feel like he could really push me and hopefully get the best out of me and take me to the next level, for sure.”
Why it took Ox nearly 7 years to decide to improve as a player is a mystery.
Oxlade Chamberlain: 198 games for Arsenal, 20 goals.