Chelsea have kickstarted a frantic scramble for reinforcements in the final week of the summer transfer window by agreeing a fee of around £35m with Arsenal for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, with the player potentially the first of three England internationals destined for Stamford Bridge before the cut-off on Thursday.
Oxlade-Chamberlain, who has entered the final 12 months of his contract, had been offered new and improved terms to commit his future to Arsenal but made clear towards the end of last week that his preference was to seek a new challenge having apparently grown frustrated at the role he was being asked to play in the team.
He was still selected for the 4-0 thrashing at Liverpool on Sunday and will depart despite Arsène Wenger having suggested this summer that the 24-year-old would “100%” stay at the Emirates Stadium.
The manager’s hand appears to have been forced in the period since with the club’s hierarchy not prepared to lose Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mesut Özil and Alexis Sánchez under freedom of contract next summer.
Given the lack of suitors for the German and the hierarchy’s intransigence over the prospect of selling Sánchez this summer – resolve that could be tested by Manchester City this week – that always left the Englishman as the likeliest to depart.