As Dejan Lovren inches toward Anfield, another Southampton player is making his way toward the door, with 19-year-old defender Calum Chambers about to add his name to the list of Saints who’ve left St. Mary’s this summer. Following in the footsteps of Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, Luke Shaw, and head coach Mauricio Pochettino, Chambers is the subject of a bid north of $24 million from Arsenal, with the England youth-level right back having undergone a medical with the Gunners on Friday.
Chambers made 22 league appearances for Pochettino last year, starting 18 times as Southampton surged to eighth in the Premier League. Having featured prominently at youth levels for England, Chambers is expected to break into the Three Lions set up soon, though it’s unclear whether his long-term future will be at right back or in the middle. Regardless, the 19-year-old is a player who’s destined to move away from Southampton, be it this summer or in the future.
Arsenal’s elected to jump to the front of the line, tabling a bid that will be difficult to turn down. In North London, Chambers would provide depth wide or in the middle, with the newly acquired Mathieu Debuchy expected to replace the departed Bacary Sagna to the right of Per Mertsacker and Laurent Koscielny. According to The Telegraph, incumbent right back Carl Jenkinson could move if the Chambers deal is completed, with West Ham reportedly interested.
From the BBC’s David Ornstein, with similar reports appearing at other English outlets:
From Southampton’s point of view, an eight-figure fee is hard to ignore in the face of the player’s inexperience, and while Saints are reportedly eager to halt their players’ exodus, the sale represents good value for a slightly unproven right back. While supporters surely want to see some of their stars stay at St. Mary’s, Chambers is not going to be a make-or-break player this season. If Saints are going to cash in on him eventually, why not now, especially when they can put that money back into the squad?
Regardless, you have to pity Ronald Koeman, whose success coaching Feyenoord earned the former Ajax and Barcelona star a shot in England. But upon his arrival on the south coast, he’s seen the team’s sale prolonged. Three weeks before the season starts, the new boss may be wondering who’ll still be around when his squad travels to Anfield on Aug. 17.