Arsenal Signs Teenage Winger Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on Long-Term Contract

Arsenal signed winger Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain from Southampton on a “long-term” contract as the north London soccer club seeks to improve on its fourth place in last season’s Premier League.

The Gunners didn’t reveal financial details, although U.K. media reports said the transfer fee is as much as 15 million pounds ($24.5 million). Southampton said it’s receiving a club- record fee.

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who turns 18 on Aug. 15, made 44 first- team appearances for the English south-coast club after joining its academy at age seven, Arsenal said on its website.

“We are delighted that Alex has decided to join us,” Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger told the website. “He is an exciting young player who will provide us with creativity and offensive quality. He can play as an attacking center midfielder, or wide left and right.”

Southampton was promoted at the end of last season and will play in the second-tier Championship in 2011-12.

“It is one of the biggest deals in Championship history, which sees Saints’ previous transfer records blown out of the water,” Southampton said on its website. The deal “was done with Saints in the driving seat for the duration of the protracted negotiations and the transfer was completed on our terms.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain is following in the footsteps of Theo Walcott, who joined Arsenal from Southampton in 2006.

Also in this offseason, the Gunners have signed striker Gervinho from French champion Lille and defender Carl Jenkinson from Charlton as the team aims to win its first trophy since 2005. The club starts its Premier League program at Newcastle on Aug. 13.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter-Joseph Hegarty in London at phegarty@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at celser@bloomberg.net.

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