Last week, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was linked with a move to either Liverpool or Manchester City. This week, reports have continued to insist the two northern clubs are interested and even added Manchester United to the mix. All, at least if the rumour mongers are to be believed, would be willing to part with around £30M to land the Arsenal winger.
It’s a fee that should give pause, because the 22-year-old attacker has struggled for both form and fitness this season at Arsenal and, even taking into account the infamous English premium, would be unlikely to fetch anything like £30M should he leave Arsenal this summer. However, it’s a fee that starts to make sense once one considers that Oxlade-Chamberlain has just entered into contract negotiations.
The winger has two years left on his current deal, and like most players, he wants a raise. Arsenal, for their part, aren’t sure that he warrants one given the part where he’s struggled for both form and fitness of late. What better way to try to convince the Gunners he is worth that, then, than a series of links claiming that Liverpool and the Manchesters are all totally willing to pay £30M for him this summer?
Transfer rumours typically come from one of three sources. At least when they aren't entirely made up. They typically come from the buying or selling club, or they come from the player’s representatives. Sometimes they reflect genuine inside knowledge—real transfers that might happen. Other times, they’re a negotiating tactic, a way for a player to increase his value or for a club to show fans they’re active in the market.
With Oxlade-Chamberlain being linked to multiple clubs in one go, it’s unlikely the rumours are coming from one of those clubs—one telling a friendly journalist they’re all interested and willing to pay £30M would only spark a bidding war, potentially driving his price even higher. There’s an outside chance it could be Arsenal testing the waters. It's most likely, though, that the rumours are coming from the player’s representatives.
There are two years left to go on his current contract and Arsenal aren’t convinced he’s turning into the player they thought he would when he signed from Southampton for £15M in 2011. That isn’t good for Oxlade-Chamberlain, and so his people are busy spinning stories about Liverpool and City and United interest to try and improve their bargaining position. So it goes.