Oxlade-Chamberlain: I want to leave
Southampton winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened the door to a potential move this summer after he admitted that he wants to join a 'top club'.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, 17, has been hailed as one of England's most exciting young players and has been linked with a move to Arsenal, with the Gunners knocked back in their efforts to sign him in an £8 million deal (rising to £12m) already.
However, the teenager now claims he wants to move to one of the best sides in the Premier League to test himself further.
"I've heard Arsenal are in for me and to join a top-four club is what I hope for,'' he told the Sun. "When the bus comes along, you have to jump on it and make the most of your opportunities. It's not every day you get a chance like that. I believe in my own ability and that I have what it takes to play in the Premier League."
Oxlade-Chamberlain also says he has talked with Saints and hopes they will not block him from completing a dream move.
"I've had a chat with the manager, Nigel Adkins, about my situation and expressed my feelings to him,'' he added. ''I talked about how I wanted to be playing in the Premier League as quickly as possible and he has been really understanding.
"I've been at Southampton since I was seven and enjoyed every minute of it. They've brought me up in a really good way. The fans and the manager have been great and the club have made me what I am today.
"But I feel it's time for the next step. The way I see it, the Premier League is where I aspire to play. You aren't at the top of the game until you get there.
"I could spend a year in the Championship and, though this might sound negative, I could get injured and that opportunity might be lost. The next year another young star could come through and the opening might not come around again."
Southampton had success with both Theo Walcott and Gareth Bale, selling them on at a huge profit while they were still youngsters, and Oxlade-Chamberlain understands why he will be compared to the duo.
He declared: "I guess seeing what has happened with Theo and Gareth inspires me. Although they didn't jump straight into the first team when they moved, they've pushed on to better things. So I take confidence from that.
"Obviously you are going to be a bit apprehensive going into the Premier League. But you have to take risks. If you step up and it doesn't work out, you have to hold your hands up. But if you believe in yourself and you're willing to work, which I am, there's endless amounts you can achieve.
"My team-mates understand my position. And I'm sure if they had this chance they wouldn't turn it down. It's the same with anyone in any line of work. If you can better yourself, it's silly not to want to move on and do it."