x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Chamberlain lines up as Arsenal add to strike force

The England Under 21 international, travelled to north London yesterday and signed after completing a medical.

Alex Chamberlain, right, can operate on either side of the pitch.
Alex Chamberlain, right, can operate on either side of the pitch.

Arsene Wenger last night opened his chequebook after Arsenal agreed to pay £15 million (Dh90m) for the Southampton winger, Alex Chamberlain.

The England Under 21 international, travelled to north London yesterday and signed after completing a medical.

An upfront fee of £12m has been negotiated with Southampton, but this figure will rise by a further £3m through add-ons, it was reported yesterday.

Chamberlain has yet to play at a higher level than League One, but his signing will still be viewed as a coup for Arsenal, despite the size of the transfer fee.

Manchester United and Liverpool also expressed an interest in the Southampton Academy product, who will turn 18 next week, but the Gunners appear to have edged their rivals.

Chamberlain, contracted until 2013, played a key role in helping the club secure promotion to the Championship last season, scoring nine goals in 34 appearances.

Known for his pace and ability to beat defenders, he can operate on either side of the pitch.

Wenger hailed Chamberlain as a player of rich potential. "We are delighted that Alex has decided to join us," Wenger told the club's official website. "He is an exciting young player who will provide us with creativity and offensive quality.

"Alex is a perceptive passer of the ball and has a great understanding of the game and looks to be a very good team player."

Joe Hart, the goalkeeper, has signed a new five-year contract with Manchester City.

The 24 year old, who fought off the challenge of Shay Given to establish himself as first choice, has committed himself to the club until 2016.

He told the club's official website: "I'm absolutely delighted to have signed a new deal and it is a very exciting time to be a City player.

"I can't think of myself being anywhere other than City and it really feels like home. I feel very privileged to be staying here for another five years.

"I've got a lot of love for this club, the way we're moving forward and for the fans who have been fantastic towards me from day one."

Hart joined City from Shrewsbury for £600,000 in 2006, and has also taken over the position as England first-choice goalkeeper.

He set a club record for clean sheets last season, and has paid tribute to Given's influence - the Republic of Ireland stopper has now moved to Aston Villa.

Hart said: "When I signed from Shrewsbury it was always my aim to become the number one here and I was prepared to do anything to achieve that, including going out on loan a few times to prove my worth.

"Shay's influence on me has been massive and being able to work alongside him has brought my game on tremendously.