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Wenger admits to £16m Chambers gamble

ESPN staff
July 28, 2014
Are Arsenal title contenders?

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger admits the £16 million signing of teenage defender Calum Chambers from Southampton is a gamble.

The 19-year-old full-back, who has only made 18 Premier League starts, has agreed personal terms and completed a medical, with the move having been confirmed on Monday.

Southampton hope to receive £16m in compensation eventually, if the move is a success, and, while Wenger understands the size of the fee may be surprising, he is confident Chambers will justify the outlay with his versatility.

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Wenger said: "He can play at centre-back, right-back and central midfield. I hope he will give us competition for the players in these three positions.

"He hasn't played many games, no, but the English players on the market in England are very expensive and at the end of the day I was ready to take a gamble because he is a player for the future."

Chambers is the third youngster signed from Southampton's successful academy by Wenger after Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

But the teenager is likely to have to bide his time before making an impact at the Emirates. Wenger has signed Mathieu Debuchy to replace Bacary Sagna and Chambers will act as back-up in the right-back position.

He will hope to play initially in the League Cup and FA Cup for Arsenal this season, and provide competition for Debuchy in the Premier League, with the manager confident he can have a similar impact to Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Chambers is said by those who have worked with him to have the potential to break into the senior England squad and his arrival may allow Carl Jenkinson to leave Arsenal, either on loan or permanently with West Ham interested.

Calum Chambers will provide competition for Mathieu Debuchy © PA Photos
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