Arsenal style inspired Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has revealed how years of watching Arsenal on television helped him secure his £15million move to the Emirates Stadium.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who had long been linked with the Gunners, finally completed his transfer from Southampton yesterday.
And the attacking midfielder, who turns 18 on Monday, explained after signing his long-term contract how years of studying the way Arsenal play under Arsene Wenger influenced his own game.
"I've never really been a mad fan of anyone but Arsenal definitely were one of the teams I've always followed," he told Arsenal TV Online.
"I think that's the best way to learn to play football, watching the boys play at Arsenal."
No player inspired Oxlade-Chamberlain more than his new club's all-time top scorer, Thierry Henry.
"As I was growing up, he was always star man on Match of the Day," Oxlade-Chamberlain said of the former Arsenal captain.
"All the highlights were basically of him because he was always scoring, week in, week out.
"The goals he scored were fantastic and the play he created around him with the rest of the players, it was just exciting to watch."
The man currently in possession of Henry's old number 14 jersey has proven just as much of an inspiration to the Gunners new boy.
Oxlade-Chamberlain's career is almost a mirror image of that of Theo Walcott, who has established himself with Arsenal and England since his £12million move four and a half years ago.
Oxlade-Chamberlain said: "The way I saw Theo when he left Southampton and took off here, it's been really encouraging for me. He's a great player.
"To go on like he has to play for England and score goals for England, and do as well as he has for Arsenal, it definitely gave me confidence and maybe helped my decision a bit more."
As did manager Wenger's reputation for blooding youngsters.
"That was one of the reasons why I wanted to come to Arsenal, because I really believe that he knows what he's doing," Oxlade-Chamberlain added.
"I think he knows what to do to develop me in the best way."
Oxlade-Chamberlain admitted he owed Southampton "massively", having been there since the age of seven, adding: "They've brought me up into the player I am today."
And he insisted he had joined Arsenal "to win things", saying: "I want to come here and win as much as I can.
"The club's got the talent here and the ability to do that."
That has been the case for the past six seasons but Arsenal have repeatedly come up short, most notably last season, when they were in the hunt for a quadruple but collapsed in every single competition.
Oxlade-Chamberlain said: "I can't really explain what was wrong or what wasn't wrong.
"The way I saw it, they played fantastic football and the infrastructure of the club and everything here is spot-on.
"It's just waiting to happen, I think."
Those sentiments were echoed last night by new majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, who sent a message to members of the Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association, which was relayed at their AGM.
Gunners chief executive Ivan Gazidis spent 45 minutes answering questions from AISA yesterday but it was from American billionaire Kroenke that they really wanted to hear.
He said in his message: "The Arsenal Independent Supporters' Association represents a large number of fans so your views are important to me.
"I know Ivan works hard to ensure we have a good ongoing relationship and I've asked for that to continue.
"I also share your desire for us to be successful on the pitch. This has been my goal for all my sports associations.
"I'm confident we'll have another terrific season ahead.
"I look forward to working with you as the season unfolds and thank you very much for your on going support."
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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