Ox Gores Wenger

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.


Source: http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/first-team/274371-oxlade-chamberlain-klopp-s-a-special-manager-who-can-take-me-to-the-next-level


  1. Steve
    That may very well be the case but what strikes me personally, is that this site is full of doctors, scientists, and many other highly intelligent people.
    Yet, they all seem to spend chunks of their precious time discussing a simple game that involves plenty of
    “small brain knobs”

    At least , if the Chelsea contract offer was anything to go by, you can’t say that Ox is a greedy knob with a small brain.

  2. I can find no reason to criticise Ox for his move. It’s clear that Arsene has somewhat lost his golden touch for nurturing young talents. Ox clearly felt connections to the club (which is probably why it took him 7 years), yet in the end decided a move away was the best thing for his personal growth. I wish him well.

  3. Whether Ox makes it to the next level or not under Klopp remains to be seen, but to criticize him for not wanting to continue under Wenger, especially on a site that’s been highly critical of Wenger, is a bit baffling.

    As for Tim’s question “why it took him this long”-
    Simple , he signed an extension at 20 and that he’s coming into his prime he wants a more forward thinking manager help his career along.

    1. I’m not entirely critical of Ox, I find the whole thing funny and wrote it as such. I also find it refreshing that a player finally publicly admitted what we have known for years: Wenger doesn’t even really develop talent. If anything, Wenger ruins talent, especially lately. Look at Bellerin. That man has been backsliding HARD in the last two seasons, it’s no wonder he handed in a transfer request this summer.

      What talent has Arsene Wenger developed in the last 10 years? I don’t mean “just given first team football” I mean “corrected flaws, made them better” like Lukaku.

      1. I don’t think Bellerin’s been backsliding hard for two years (though for either of us to back up our claims, we’d have to go back and look at things in detail). I think he hasn’t been nearly as good as he was since he got injured late in 2016 (in November, if memory serves?). I think he may (may!) have even lost a tiny bit of his pace from that injury, but that’s just my hunch based on the naked eye. But he’s shown signs of still being a very good player at times in 2017, and no doubt he’ll re-find his best form eventually.

        Whether or not Wenger/Arsenal stunts his career in the longterm, I don’t think you can say yet that there’s been a definite downward trend that has lasted nearly long enough to suggest it’s anything more than a dip in form/confidence that happens to players, especially young ones (he was hardly perfect when he broke into the team anyway, it’s just that fans overlooked his flaws since he was so young and such an exciting talent).

      2. Lately is the keyword here I think. He did have a very good record until the closing stages of project youth.

        He developed a nobody like Song into someone that Barcelona was interested in. RVP, Nasri and Cesc are all examples who improved significantly under him. Iwobi briefly threatened to shine and still might in this season if the midfield platform behind him is not so shaky.

        JW, Ox and Bellerin are probably his worst students. So much talent and so little end product.

        Maybe the rise in expectations after the end of project youth is what is causing this stagnation? How do you ‘develop’ players under pressure?

      3. Bellerin, yes. And I worry about Iwobi and Reiss. Iwobi looked quite the player when he broke into the team. But his flaws have only gotten bigger, and he’s losing confidence and not progressing. Reiss will experience the same in the next two years. Their biggest hope is that the next manager (ha!) will do them better.

  4. I find it difficult to wish van Chamberlain well.

    Although he is well within his rights to seek greener pastures, Arsene and the club have been loyal to him throughout the 82 games and 513 days he missed due to injuries. He has been given ample opportunity to succeed and frankly hasn’t been careful enough with possession nor mindful enough in defense to warrant a place in midfield. Now, when his opportunities are at a zenith and the club is at a nadir, he decides to walk. That’s fine, but it’s the opposite of loyalty.

    I suppose that when he picks up his fifth knee injury I’ll feel like we dodged a 180,000 pounds a week bullet. But until then I will feel hard done by.

    1. Tend to agree with this, though I see both sides. If Arsenal didn’t give off the distinct stench of dysfunction from top to bottom these days (and if the club had been smart enough to offer him a big new contract sometime in the middle of last season, rather than wait until this summer, almost as if he was an afterthought), I’d feel much more like Ox’s lack of loyalty is ethically questionable, to say the least. As it is, it makes me sad, and slightly disappointed in him, but I can understand where he’s coming from, and he doesn’t strike me as another Cashley or Nasri.

  5. So… what I’m hearing is Wenger’s the kind of manager you look up to when your young, but Klopp’s the kind that will make the rounds with you when your old enough to hit the pubs?

  6. Dr Duh
    Unless Ox suffered those injuries skiing and surfing, I can’t see much logic in saying Arsenal stood by him why he was out injured.

    The better question might be how many of those injuries were due to mismanagement by Wenger.

    The League cup tie against Sheffield Wednesday in October 2015 comes to mind, when Ox was doing some crazy stretches minutes before the kick off, only to go down with the hamstring 5 minutes later.
    Obviously there was an issue there someone ignored.

    To compound the problem, Wenger let Walcott take to the pitch to replace Ox without so much as basic time required for a warm up on a cold 50 degree night.
    Theo lasted less than 15 minutes.

    The list of Arsenal players who made their injuries worse only because Wenger was too cavalier with their well being is longer than most.

    1. Jack,
      I think you miss the good Dr’s point: of course it’s not real loyalty just to honor a players contract through injury, but it is loyalty to keep giving a young, injury-prone player, with rough edges and serious confidence issues, chance after chance in the first team to show he can win himself a place in the side. I got frustrated that Wenger moved him around in different positions so much–I think he never plays as well on the left, so I would have started him ahead of Theo on the right at times, and would have given him more minutes at CM, maybe in a 3–but he definitely had his chances, and many, many times, between his first season and last season, he disappointed. He clearly lacked confidence, and Wenger clearly, publicly and in his actions, backed him again and again.
      That as soon as he has one year of big improvement, he wants out, is disappointing, and does show a lack of loyalty, understandable or not.

      1. PFo
        I’m assuming that was to me so I’ll respond.
        If Ox is injury prone then Wenger’s offer of £180k per week was reckless and Arsenal dodged a bullet.

        I believe he was mismanaged by Wenger and I have no ill feelings towards Ox for leaving the club.

        For anyone to hold a grudge against him I only ask this:
        Are you equally upset about the clubs treatment of fringe players Arsenal have been trying to move on?
        Because if you’re not , then I’m sorry but You can’t have it both ways.

  7. Surprised people don’t get how this works by now.

    These interviews are heavily scripted. There are no surprises. Not word for word, but certainly there are agreed upon talking points. Why else do all incoming players talk about the history of the club, the ambition, and the role of the manager in the very specific terms they do? Talking points the club feeds them. This is no different. The club wants to put out the image that it is an exciting place to be for young players, that Klopp’s personality is infectious and a key draw for players. And it may well be true. But that’s all he’s said.

    Of course, the media takes it as a dig at Wenger. It’s not. What’s he supposed to say, he’s NOT looking forward to furthering his development? That the manager ISN’T someone he’s looking forward to working with? Is he supposed to caveat every statement by saying it isn’t a dig at Wenger?

    Complete non-story.

    1. Well said. It really is very silly to read anything into the comments of an incoming player. Regardless of wether he loved Arsenal and Wenger or absolutely hated Arsenal and Wenger and also if he thought his other option of Chelsea and Conte were equally terrible he would still sit there and speak positively about his new employer with these same quotes seen all over the football world from different players moving to all kinds of clubs and Managers. He isn’t being asked to compare and contrast Wenger, Conte and Klopp, he is being told to sit down and provide some PR for Liverpool by saying how good Klopp and the club are and how excited he is to be there.

    2. I think the word you’re looking for is “Fake News”
      Which is not so much a comment on the truthfulness of the facts presented, but rather on which facts are presented and how they are framed in order to advance whose narrative.

      I agree van Chamberlain’s comments sound very scripted and at the minimum were reviewed with LFCs pr team. The media frames them as a dig at Wenger because controversy sells papers and gets more clicks than if they said, “yawnie, another pr interview full of bs talking points.”

  8. Besides, Ox didn’t ask for a transfer or refused to play.
    He simply refused to sign a new deal and Arsenal chose to sell him as was their right.

  9. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a Liverpool player. Let it go already. Can we talk about Arsenal players, please? Good luck to the lad trying to displace the likes of Coutinho and Lallana for Liverpool, and Dele Alli for England, in the position/role in which he fancies himself. I think Arsene gave him breaks when he wasnt playing that well. I also agree with Arseblog that his reord for an offensive player is actually quite underwhelming. If the saying that Klopp is a better manager then Wenger, we knew that already. Let’s see what it does for his career.

  10. “Why it took Ox nearly 7 years to decide to improve as a player is a mystery.”

    not this. did not enjoy reading that statement, tim. i believe alex did the best he could to develop and grow but young players need direction so that their progression can happen more timely. the general consensus on this site is that wenger provides little to no direction to individual players or the team. we’ve seen this happen multiple times with. what did we expect?

    what’s clear is that alex has talent and his talents imply that he should be at a higher level now than where he is. he’s recognized that he’s unlikely to grow at arsenal. as a result, he’s taken the bold decision to leave the creature comforts of the emirates (instead of taking the ridiculous money on offer like another former southampton player did) in an effort to realize his potential with a manager he believes can help him grow. if it were about the money, he’d still be teammates with theo walcott. no, tim, this move is all about him improving as a player.

    one thing for sure is that i’ll miss him. his potential is off the charts. i’m sad that he’s left arsenal but i’m a football fan before i’m an arsenal fan. i’m sure he’ll receive direction from klopp and i’m sure he’ll grow. what’s unfortunate is i’m sure we’ll see that growth while he’s wearing liverpool red.

    1. Talented players force their manager to pick them because of their talent and work ethic. In fact, Arsene was too generous with Ox and numerous other players who should have been sold long ago. Fabregas didn’t need spoon feeding to become a world class player. The reason we are where we are is because Arsene has never been a ruthless manager. His style is to provide a platform for players to take responsibility. Unfortunately, his team is full of whiny players who want to be guided personally by the manager so they can “grow to next level”. Nobody is ready to take any personal responsibility as part of a team. Yes, Wenger has his flaws but what about the players? When are they going to grow up? They are not 18 year old kids. There are lots of mature adults in the team but unfortunately Wenger hasn’t found his Tony Adam or Sol Campbell or his Viera.

      Wenger hasn’t changed one bit, the quality of his players has dropped, both technically and mentally.

      1. Exactly. What does “grow” mean anyway? Fabregas (and Wilshere at one time) demanded by their performances to be picked. Ox never definitively kicked the door down, IMO. He’s got a directness that few others in the team have, but his technical level isn’t exceptional.

        And why are we talking about potential for a player into his 24th year? And who, as Arseblog noted, has fewer goals than Koscielny? As losses go, Fabregas was huge. Ox isn’t.

        The guy doesn’t want to play for us. I for one have move on.

  11. Whatever, Wenger’s failings, with a Mourinho, Fergy, Conte, even Pochettino, Ox will never be the player he is today…..with the first three, he will be a first team player at the likes of Crystal palace, Bournemouth; maybe even the likes of Besiktas by now. He is too injury prone and I don’t believe Klopp has the patience to give him what he lacks – a good footballing brain.

    Having said that, by leaving for ‘pool, he has displayer a set of cojones which Walcott will never have. I hope he develops the work ethic and focus to match.

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