A frugal clause in Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s contract has forced Arsene Wenger to use the England international sparingly, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The newspaper detailed a clause in the player’s contract that stated the London club have to pay Southampton £10,000 every time the midfielder plays 20 minutes or more.
While that sum is pretty paltry, a quick glance at the midfielder’s appearance record for the Gunners suggests that the clause is having a considerable impact on Wenger’s selection policy - of the 33 appearances Oxlade-Chamberlain made for Arsenal last season, 13 were for 20 minutes or less.
However, this prudent approach failed to bear the expected dividends as the notoriously fastidious Wenger failed to take stoppage time into account when introducing the former Southampton man from the bench.
This oversight resulted in the Saints emailing the accounts department at the Emirates demanding payment for appearances that – including stoppage time – had exceeded the 20 minutes threshold.
Bound by the terms of the contract, the Gunners were forced to fork out an estimated £200,000 to the south coast side.
The details of the contract and the club’s botched attempts to circumnavigate it will only serve to further fuel the discontent growing amongst the home support already frustrated by another cumbersome summer’s transfer activity.
Such is the depth of this frustration, one fan was seen at the Emirates on Saturday holding a sign close to Wenger that read “Spend, Spend, Spend”.