Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has refused to detail the conversations that led to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain leaving for Liverpool on the final day of the summer transfer window, but has tipped two young players to step into the breach. The England international moved to Anfield for £40m (€43.7m) on deadline day after turning down the offer of a new contract.
The 23-year-old rejected a switch to Chelsea and a pay rise at the Emirates Stadium in order to move to Merseyside, where he is expected to play a key role this season. His departure ends a six-year spell in north London after completing his move from Southampton in the summer of 2011 for £15m.
But reports suggest that Oxlade-Chamberlain left Arsenal on bad terms after an angry exchange with Wenger when he told the French coach he intended to leave the club. The boss has refrained from revealing the content of the meeting but has wasted little time in identifying possible replacements, with Reiss Nelson and Joe Willock both considered.
"We wish him well and all the best," Wenger said of the 23-year-old's move to Liverpool, according to Sky Sports. "At the end of the day, you make decisions and we had to sell somebody. Overall, I feel that we are in a strong financial situation today and have a good enough squad to compete.
"I think he is a great player but sometimes it opens the door for Nelson or Willock to get an opportunity. I cannot come out with every single conversation I have with the players. The talks between the player and manager is secret."
Neither Nelson or Willock – whose brother Chris departed for Benfica during the summer – have appeared for the Arsenal senior side, but an indication over how they are regarded by Wenger was reflected by their inclusion in the squads that travelled to Australia and China in pre-season and then played in the Emirates Cup.
Both players are expected to feature heavily for Arsenal in Premier League 2 this term and have played in each of the club's three matches there this season. They could earn their full debuts in the Carabao Cup clash with Doncaster Rovers later this month.