Wenger: We have to keep Ox and other members of 'British core'

"But we are in an inflationary market and have to consider the financial situation. So that means we have to dedicate the money for everybody", he said. However, things haven't worked out that way since, and Wenger's continued faith in the struggling group has sometimes been hard to fathom, especially when there are other gifted young players on the books, including Alex Iwobi and Jeff Reine-Adelaide and Ainsley Maitland-Niles.

Wenger, though, admitted Oxlade-Chamberlain has not entirely trained on.

Wenger also thinks Arsenal must retain all the members of their so-called "British core", including midfielders Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere, per Doyle: "We have to keep them all".

"We purchased him when he was quite young, we've built him up and that I believe he's an excellent attitude".

'I like his mentality and he has a good football brain. "I think it would be a big damage for us to lose this kind of player". We must make judgements on Ramsey, Chamberlain, Wilshere and Gibbs this summer and find a way to maintain them collectively.

It is easy to forget how young the Ox is, as it seems he has been at Arsenal forever, but an improving midfielder and England global at his age would command a big price in the transfer market if he decided it was time to go to a bigger club.

Asked if playing centrally will become a long-term move for Oxlade-Chamberlain, Wenger replied: "I think so". "He can lose balls, but defensively he's strong in the challenge. He has that kind of robustness to deal with the body-to-body that is very important in the Premier League". "Mohamed Elneny behaves really top class, like he has played here 10 years so you have to consider that as well". Once I didn't play Ozil I needed to locate a mixture with him in central midfield. He has a dribbling skill and acceleration that can get you out of pressure.

"Alex can penetrate through the middle and sometimes, when he is out on the flank, I feel he is out of the game too much". He needs to be involved in the game.

One thing Wenger wants to see Oxlade-Chamberlain eradicate from his game is the dropping of his head when he is up against it.

And Wenger - whose own future also remains unresolved - said the club would not be afraid to make tough decisions if necessary. You can see he is blaming himself on the pitch sometimes when he misses something'.

"You are always in the game when it's always the next job".

"He likes to take the ball and go at people and sometimes he can lose it, so he needs to get this out of his game". But he works hard and I think he has improved a lot.

  • Julie Sanders