The next few days look set to be pivotal in terms of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's future, with reports suggesting that the versatile England international is set to hold further talks with Arsenal amid apparent interest in his services from Premier League title rivals Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United.
Like several current first-teamers at Arsenal including the likes of Alexis Sanchez, Mesut Ozil, Santi Cazorla, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain has entered the final year of his contract at the Emirates Stadium and an agreement over an extension is yet to be reached.
The Evening Standard claim that further discussions are now planned as Arsenal prepare a fresh offer expected to include wages in excess of £100,000-a-week, although it appears from multiple sources that there is a general feeling that he is unlikely to settle on fresh terms.
If Oxlade-Chamberlain does not put pen to paper soon, then it seems possible that he could yet be sold before the 31 August transfer deadline despite Arsene Wenger's firm public insistence that he will stay and that the Gunners are willing to make a financial sacrifice and risk losing out-of-contact players for free next year.
Liverpool were most heavily linked with a move for the former Southampton prodigy earlier this summer, while news of Manchester United's potential interest was first mooted last week. Chelsea are widely considered to be the front-runners, however, with The Mirror recently reporting that they were ready to test Arsenal's resolve with an offer worth approximately £35m ($44.7m).
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has made 197 total appearances for Arsenal since arriving as a £15m-rated 17-year-old back in 2011, has been deployed primarily as a wing-back in recent times and is believed to be eager to increase his opportunity to play in a more natural central role.
Former north London stalwart Nigel Winterburn evidently concurs with Wenger's assessment that the club must retain the services of a rapidly improving player who is "on his way up" and on track to become one of England's most highly-rated talents over the next two to three years.
"I absolutely say he's a player that has made massive strides in the last season," he told Sky Sports. "At wing-back, I would put him as Arsenal's outstanding player. From the end of last season through to the start of this season I rate him that highly. Is that a position that he wants to play regularly though? Does he want to play in centre midfield or a more advanced area in behind a main striker?
"He's had a slight problem in that when he looks like he's going to establish himself into the team, he's picked up an injury, had several weeks out, come back in and picked up another injury. But from the end of last season his performances have been at a very high level. He's definitely a player Arsenal need to keep."