Wenger splashes the cash on Oxlade-Chamberlain

Arsenal sign Saints winger for fee that could rise to £15m

ARSENAL have made their second significant close season purchase in the shape of Southampton’s precocious teenage midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The England Under-21 international, who turns 18 next Monday, joins for a fee that could eventually rise to around £15m including add-ons.

Oxlade-Chamberlain hit 10 goals in 41 games last season and helped Southampton gain promotion from League One.

He becomes Wenger’s third summer signing following the arrivals of defender Carl Jenkinson from League One side Charlton and £11m striker Gervinho from French club Lille.

Southampton suggested this was “one of the biggest deals in Championship history” and added that their previous transfer record – Theo Walcott’s £12m move to Arsenal in 2006 – has been “blown out of the water”.

Gunners boss Arsene Wenger said: “We are looking forward to him fulfilling his huge potential with Arsenal.

“We are delighted that Alex has decided to join us. He is an exciting young player who will provide us with creativity and offensive quality.

“Alex is a versatile player who can play in a number of positions. He can play as an attacking centre midfielder, or wide left and right.

“He is a perceptive passer of the ball, has a great understanding of the game and looks to be a very good team player.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain added: “I’m so excited to be joining Arsenal. It’s a fantastic club and I’m really looking forward to playing football at the highest level.

“Arsenal have a great manager in Arsene Wenger, top quality players and an attractive style of play. These were all important factors in me choosing to sign for Arsenal.

“I’m proud to be joining Arsenal, but I would also like to take this opportunity to thank everyone at Southampton for their help and support during the early part of my career, for which I will always be grateful.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain is the son of Mark Chamberlain – the former Sheffield Wednesday, Stoke and Portsmouth winger who won eight caps for England.

Wenger is expected to further reinforce his squad before the transfer window closes on 1 September, but much will depend on the future of Cesc Fabregas, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona.