Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is hopeful of retaining Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain beyond the end of the season amid reports the England international wants to leave The Emirates Stadium.
The Sun report that despite Oxlade-Chamberlain having less than 18 months to run on his current deal – much like contract-rebels Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez – but is yet to be offered the option to renew the agreement. Oxlade-Chamberlain cut a dejected figure as the Gunners crashed out of the Champions League following a 10-2 aggregate defeat to Bayern Munich.
Everton have also been linked with a move for Oxlade-Chamberlain, while City and United are monitoring his situation ahead of a possible move this summer. Should the ex-Southampton youngster show no interest in extending his contract then Arsenal would be forced into offloading him this summer in order to avoid losing him on a free in 2018.
Speaking in his pre-match news conference to preview the FA Cup quarter-final against Lincoln City, Wenger admitted he was unaware of the speculation regarding the midfielder but is optimistic he will stay at the club. "I haven't seen that, I don't know," he told reporters. "I am surprised by that, I believe he has developed well and has been given his chance.
"Overall, when you are somewhere you have to want to be there first. The only thing I can say is I rate him highly. I think I have shown that in the way I keep faith in him when he spent a long time out injured. I personally wish he stays. He's a promising player who has developed well and has the values we rate at this club."
What might be a concern for Wenger however is the build disenchantment behind the scenes at Arsenal, with Oxlade-Chamberlain the second player in the space of a week to be linked with a move away from the club amid their current plight. Exit from the cup to non-league Lincoln would leave them facing a season without a major trophy for the 10th time in the last 12 campaigns.
City and United have both been linked with a move for Oxlade-Chamberlain, though it is not immediately clear where he would fit in Pep Guardiola or Jose Mourinho's plans. Everton appears a move viable option however whether the club can match the player's ambition remains to be seen.
But should Oxlade-Chamberlain become a primary target for City, Everton or United then they will be encouraged by former Arsenal striker Charlie Nicholas tipping the player to be one of 10 offloaded this summer. Oxlade-Chamberlain has played 35 times this season – a near ever-present – but is therefore closely associated with the club's problems.