Why Arsenal enigma Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should consider a summer move to West Ham

Alex Oxlade Chamberlain

The Gunners winger might need to wave goodbye to Arsenal to save a once promising career.

There is something hugely tragic about wasted talent, whether it is on a football pitch, in a classroom or in an office. If a person is naturally gifted at something, they owe it to themselves, and indeed the less gifted, to harness their flair in the best possible way, at the best possible location.

The Emirates is no longer the best possible location for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who, four and a half years after joining Arsenal, has become somewhat stagnant.

He has not developed in the way that Arsene Wenger would have hoped when he spent £12 million on him in 2011, his undoubted potential remaining unfulfilled. But there is another London club who can ensure that we do not think of Oxlade-Chamberlain as a 'what could have been' story in years to come: West Ham United.

The sobering experience of moving to a smaller club such as West Ham could well bring the best out of the 22-year-old, who would have a huge point to prove - to himself and those who compared him to Paul Gascoigne once upon a time. But he has hit something of an impasse at Arsenal. This might be because for too long Wenger has started him based on various factors apart from perhaps the most important one: merit.

He has been given countless chances, often without really earning them. Where's the incentive to improve, the incentive to scale the heights expected of him? Oxlade-Chamberlain is playing under a manager who rewards mediocrity instead of demanding excellence and it has held him back in his development.

Things would be different under Slaven Bilic in East London - very different.

Bilic is not a manager bound by the same sense of loyalty that Wenger has for his players. Instead of being handed first-team opportunities, Oxlade-Chamberlain - whose 33 appearances this season has yielded two goals and one assist - would be expected to earn them over there; much in the same way that Michail Antonio has earned his spell in the team and that graft is paying dividends for him, West Ham and Bilic on what seems a weekly basis.

Oxlade-Chamberlain might also look at the way in which Bilic has salvaged Dimitri Payet's peak years and helped him produce his very best form, with the 28-year-old struggling to live up to his potential for so many years in France.

At 22, all is certainly not lost for Oxlade-Chamberlain - and West Ham just might be the place to find what he is looking for.

Register for ARSENAL team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch