West Ham’s pending move to the Olympic Stadium has given those in the business of peddling transfer stories a new source of inspiration.
With the Irons due to move into their taxpayer-funded, state-of-the-art arena, it has been speculated a marquee signing or two will be made in order ensure seats are filled.
The days preceding the transfer window’s closure led to gossip column-frequenting Hammers fans being teased by the prospect of players like Zlatan Ibrahimovic donning claret and blue next term, but even with the designated shopping period at end for now, some sources won’t quit riding the wave of speculation.
This new platform for generating transfer talk has seen the little-known rumourologists at the Brentwood Gazette rocket into the circles spuriousness-spreading superstardom occupied by the likes of Metro’s Jamie Sanderson and everyone who works at The Daily Express.
The boys from Brentwood first gained acclaim when they revealed how West Ham were keen on making Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge the poster boy for their Olympic Stadium switch and, intent on mingling with the back-page aristocrats for as long as possible, they’ve broke news of another blockbuster Irons buy.
It’s Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who allegedly tops the Hammers’ shortlist and is valued at £15m by the east Londoners.
While the legitimacy of this interest is debatable, it comes at a time when the Gunners might well be considering sacrificing the Ox.
The 22-year-old is into his fifth season at the Emirates following a £12m move from Southampton, during which time he has clocked up 149 appearances and 24 England caps.
Still, despite this, his much-celebrated potential remains a long way from being realised, which is largely down to his tendency to pick up momentum-derailing injuries whenever he threatens to hit form.
Reports suggest Oxlade-Chamberlain will miss the remainder of this season and the European Championships having picked up knee and ankle knocks in Arsenal’s defeat to Barcelona this week.
His recent lay off comes after he had spent the days between the end of October and December trying to regain his starting spot in the Gunners’ side after featuring regularly up until a hamstring injury sustained in defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.
Four separate spells on the sidelines have been endured by the England international across the previous two campaigns, in which time he has missed 26 club games.
Forever in a battle to rediscover optimum match fitness, Oxlade-Chamberlain looks increasingly unlikely to be a major player at Arsenal, for whom the opportunity to spin a profit on this summer may be too tempting to turn down.