Premier League clubs chase Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Liverpool and Manchester United join a host of top flight clubs interested in Southampton starlet
Liverpool and Manchester United are among a host of Premier League clubs interested in signing Southampton’s latest academy prospect, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Both Liverpool’s director of football strategy Damien Comolli and United manager Sir Alex Ferguson travelled to Boundary Park on Tuesday night to witness the Saint’s 6-0 demolition of Oldham Athletic.
It is understood that both clubs -along with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City -are keeping a close eye on Chamberlain, with Southampton reportedly willing to let the 17-year-old go for £10m.
The midfielder, who is understood to favour a move to Chelsea, is the latest product of a youth system that helped develop the likes of Alan Shearer, Matt Le Tissier, Wayne Bridge, Gareth Bale and Theo Walcott.
Amid the increasing speculation Southampton chairman Nicola Cortese was forced to issue a statement to reassure the club’s supporters that Chamberlain’s immediate future lies at St Mary’s.
“Alex is not going to go anywhere,” said Cortese. “We’re very proud to see the progress he’s made in such a short period. We’ve got a great prospect for the future, but not the transfer market. He’s very well looked after and I don’t think he’d wish to be anywhere else than here”
However, the continuing transfer talk and the presence of Comolli and Ferguson may render these words hollow. Despite Southampton enjoying a renaissance since going into administration in 2009, a mouthwatering bid for their latest golden boy would be difficult to turn down.
The youngster is the son of former England international Mark Chamberlain and the nephew of former politician Neville. He joined the Southampton Academy aged seven and made his senior debut in March 2010.
In August 2010, ten days after scoring his first goal for the club against local rivals Bournemouth, Chamberlain signed his first professional contract at St Mary’s. He has since blossomed, scoring seven times in 28 appearance and aiding Southampton’s push for promotion back to The Championship.
The inevitable comparisons have been drawn with Arsenal’s Walcott -a product of the same academy -in terms of his build and pace. But his father Mark believes his son has superior ability to a 17-year-old Walcott.
“His ability to cross the ball is good and he already has seven goals this season,” said Chamberlain. “He needs to work on getting more assists.
“I said at the start of the season that I rate him more highly than Walcott and everyone looked at me funny. But I’ve worked with both, they have their assets and attributes. But as an all-round technical player Alex has more to offer.”
And Saints team-mate Danny Butterfield agrees with Chamberlain’s father. The defender said: “He’s got very quick feet and is explosive off the mark, he delivers a good final ball and he scores goals.
“From where he is now to what I’d imagine Theo Walcott was like at 17, I’d say Alex is far more advanced.”