Manchester United and Arsenal may exchange problem players
It’s safe to say that neither Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain or Chris Smalling is wowing fans at Arsenal or Manchester United respectively. That’s precisely why the clubs are thinking about swapping problem children this summer.
The Mirror are reporting that Jose Mourinho has a very strong interest in bringing Oxlade-Chamberlain to Old Trafford. The physical winger has never fully realized his potential under Arsene Wenger, and many believe he’ll seek a change of scenery this summer. His physical style and work rate make him an attractive option for the Special One.
His status with the Gunners could easily fluctuate if Wenger does end up leaving the club this summer. If the Frenchman stays, expect to see Oxlade-Chamberlain sold. If another manager takes over, it’s entirely possible they’ll want to manage the talented midfielder themselves before giving up on him.
The matter is slightly more complicated by the claim that United might be willing to send Chris Smalling to North London as a makeweight. The English defender’s struggles this season have placed his United career in significant jeopardy. Mourinho will certainly look to purchase another centre back or two this offseason. That will make Smalling expendable.
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Arsenal have their own issues at centre back. Laurent Koscielny has been a rock on one side, but he’s starting to get long in the tooth. Shkodran Mustafi is likely going to start as his partner, but depth is an issue. Adding Smalling to the equation could really give Arsenal’s manager a lot more options and flexibility along the back four.
Let me be clear about one thing, this is a clear example of United trying to take advantage of unrest at Arsenal. Oxlade-Chamberlain is a younger, more talented player than Smalling. The fact that he plays a much more valuable position on the transfer market only adds to the disparity between the two players.
If both men hit the open market, it’s clear that Oxlade-Chamberlain would garner a lot of interest. Reports claim he could easily earn the Gunners a £30 million transfer fee. There’s no chance that Smalling could earn that sort of fee for United. At best, he might pry £20 million away from a Premier League club looking for defensive help.
This is exactly the sort of move Arsenal shouldn’t make under any circumstances. The only reason it has a remote possibility of happening, is due to the unrest surrounding the club and manager Arsene Wenger.