Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has opened up on his exit from Liverpool this summer, revealing he was never officially told he would not be getting a new contract until days before his departure was confirmed.
The 30-year-old left Anfield after six years at the club when his contract expired at the end of last season, and he received a fond farewell from the fans after the final home game against Aston Villa on May 20 alongside Roberto Firmino, James Milner and Naby Keita.
Oxlade-Chamberlain’s departure was hardly unexpected after he made just nine top flight appearances across the campaign, but the England international has claimed manager Jurgen Klopp never spoke to him about his future during the final months of his stay on Merseyside.
Reflecting on the latter stages of last season, Oxlade-Chamberlain told The Athletic: ‘Some of the younger players were getting an opportunity to be involved, getting them ready for years to come, which I understand.
‘I just guess you want that communicated to you because you start going out of your mind thinking, “What more can I do here?”. And it was never really written off that you’re not getting offered a new contract.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain bid farewell to Liverpool in the summer after six years at the club
He has revealed there was a ‘surprising lack of communication’ with Jurgen Klopp prior to his departure
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‘It was never said (that he wouldn’t get a new deal). I obviously got the picture (laughs).
‘I got told before they released the statement (three days before that Villa game): “Just so you know, we’re putting this out about you, Milly, Bobby and Naby leaving”. And I was like, “Oh, OK. Thanks”. But there was nothing official at any point before. It was just… the silence was enough to know what the situation was.’
‘You just… expect certain things to be told — whether it’s good, bad, whatever, that’s how the game goes. The lack of communication was… a bit surprising.’
Despite not being given a clearer picture about his future, Oxlade-Chamberlain insisted he always had a strong relationship with Klopp, but conceded he is now fully aware of how ruthless the business side of football can be.
‘We (he and Klopp) had a good relationship. There was never any falling-out or anything like that,’ Oxlade-Chamberlain said.
‘I understand as a manager it’s not easy to navigate every player’s needs, but when I was playing, I definitely enjoyed him a lot more than when I wasn’t even on the bench (laughs). But that’s how it goes.
‘The longer I play the game, the more I realise you’re just an entity in the grand scheme of a business really. There will be many more after us and there were many more before, people who have had great experiences.
Oxlade-Chamberlain made just nine Premier League appearances last season, and admits it was obvious that he was going to not get a new contract despite not being officially told
‘I had great, great times at Liverpool. I couldn’t say anything bad about my time there. I wouldn’t even say it ended badly. At the end of the day, the club is bigger than any one player. Sometimes there’s bigger fish to fry.’
Following his release by Liverpool, Oxlade-Chamberlain has since joined Besiktas, and scored his first goal for the Turkish club last month.
He had offers on the table over the summer, and admitted he did consider joining several of his former team-mates in moving to Saudi Arabia, but opted to go to Turkey for family and football reasons.
‘I was tempted (to join the Saudi Pro League),’ he said.
‘Over the transfer window, the whole shape of it changed as more boys went there and it became more appealing with how many lads were going to be there and how that’s going to improve the league. So for sure, I wasn’t like, “No I would never do that”.
But Oxlade-Chamberlain has a young family with partner Perrie Edwards and believes getting them to take connecting flights to Riyadh regularly would have made it a ‘different experience’.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has set his sights on winning the league with Besiktas this season
He also was excited by the project presented to him at Besiktas, with the team looking to win the league after falling short last term.
‘I spoke to the manager (Gunes), spoke about positions and the main decision for me was about just getting back to playing football as quickly as possible,’ he explained.
‘It’s a big club, it’s not too far from my family — they’re back and forth a lot — and the whole thing made sense for me to come here. The team finished third last season and maybe people see us as underdogs, but I like that.
‘I like that challenge, coming here with guys like Eric Bailly and Ante Rebic and pushing to try to win the league.’
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