Who are ya? Alex 0xlade-Chamberlain – Arsenal and Manchester United target
Young, pacey, and English, Chamberlain has recently come to the nation’s attention with his performances for Southampton. The wonderkid, who is still only 17, has got tons of pace and a good touch, completed by a goal-scoring knack.
He has forged himself a regular starting slot on Southampton’s wing this season, helping the Saints in their bid for promotion to the Championship. Being precociously young, lightning quick down the wing, and a product of Southampton’s famed youth academy (that produced Gareth Bale), he has inevitably been compared to Theo Walcott.
Chamberlain made his first team debut last season at Huddersfield aged only 16. This is Southampton’s second youngest debut, following only Theo Walcott! On his full first team debut in the Carling Cup, Chamberlain scored in a 2-0 win over Bournemouth. He went on to come off the bench in October 2010, to grab his first league goal, with a winner against Oldham.
He has since gone on to cement a regular slot on Southampton’s wing, providing much needed pace. In 24 appearances this season he has provided 8 goals.
The similarities with Walcott continue, with Arsenal apparently leading the chase to sign Chamberlain. Like with Walcott, who was also bought by Arsenal at a young age, after promising appearances in the lower leagues, Arsene Wenger is an admirer. He has stated to the press, his desire to sign him.
Chamberlain’s dad, Mark Chamberlain, himself a former England international, has said that a move to Arsenal would be in his son’s best interests. ‘Arsenal, with the manager there, the way they play and how they develop players…are the ideal choice’.
Nigel Adkins, the Southampton manager, however, is not keen to sell Chamberlain, preferring him to nurture his talent in a less pressurised environment. It remains to be seen however, if Southampton will be able to hold out against serious bids, such as the reported £7 million bid made by Arsenal.
Wenger will certainly be hoping that his reputation for nurturing and promoting youthful talent will stand out Arsenal from the chasing crowd. Virtually all of England’s elite clubs have been tracking Chamberlain keenly. This young prodigy though, will have a fantastic career ahead of him, if he can emulate the achievements of Southampton’s other great academy players, Bale and Walcott.