Aston Villa have been handed a boost by the admission of one of their reported transfer targets.
What’s the word?
As per a report from Birmingham Mail, Villa-linked Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has become a potential option, with him reportedly expressing his desperation to leave Anfield due to annoyance over a lack of game-time.
Should Gerrard sign the Ox?
It is said that the former Arsenal midfielder “could be tempted” to work under Gerrard after his previous comment mentioning the Villa boss was hurled back into the spotlight amidst the 28-year-old’s links with the Midlands club.
The same report mentioned that, in 2017, Oxlade-Chamberlain said: “Playing for a team like Arsenal, it ends up being more of a right-wing job. I get the ball from deeper and the plays into my hands more. At the end of the day, it’s given me minutes and I’m not one to complain.
“But, the centre-mid role… I’ve always wanted to be Steven Gerrard, so I’ve still got a hope of that.”
Indeed, the £14.4m-rated Oxlade-Chamberlain’s versatility in itself is a phenomenal asset to have among the team, something that Villa already have to some degree in 36-year-old Ashley Young.
However, whilst the Liverpool midfielder does indeed offer versatility in the engine room, he has still struggled for game-time, playing just 787 minutes from 17 appearances in the Premier League last term.
Twelve of those appearances have seen him function as a central midfielder, but he is still nowhere near a nailed-on option in the middle of the park.
Turning 29 in August, it is high-time that the 35-cap England international achieved regular first-team status in a progressive club where he could make his way into the first team as a central midfielder.
Despite a lack of game-time, Oxlade-Chamberlain’s numbers are that of a technician and suggest that he would be an excellent asset for Gerrard, having taken a leaf out of the Villa manager’s book with his balanced playing style.
Over the past year, the 28-year-old has averaged 2.57 shot-creating actions per 90 minutes whilst still remaining defensively aware, as evidenced by 6.96 successful pressures and 2.4 tackles per 90 minutes.
His balanced style and all-round astuteness could make him a great option in a position that the Villa manager knows like the back of his hand from his distinguished playing career.
On the above evidence, Villa fans would surely love to have such a well-rounded midfielder like Oxlade-Chamberlain at the club under the tutelage of one of the Premier League’s finest exponents of the position.