Arsene Wenger believes the departure of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain would do “big damage” to Arsenal as he called on the midfielder to stay at the Emirates Stadium.

Oxlade-Chamberlain has been with the Gunners since signing from Southampton in 2011, but is out of contract at the end of next season.

“I personally think it is vital that Chamberlain stays at Arsenal,” Wenger told reporters.

“We bought him when he was very young, we have built him up and I think he has a great mentality.

“I like his mentality and he has a good football brain. It would be a big damage for us to lose this kind of player.”

Wenger insists decisions on the size of the offers given to Oxlade-Chamberlain and the other players with 12 months left on their contracts will not be delayed once the season comes to a close.

“It will be done this year,” said Wenger. “We can’t let players go into the final year of their deals. Things will get sorted out during the summer.

“We have a group of young English players. We need to make decisions on Ramsey, Chamberlain, Wilshere and Gibbs this summer and manage to keep them together.

“First of all we need to keep the good players and it is also important they also have the culture of the club.

“In an inflationary market we have to consider the situation as a whole. We have to dedicate the money for everybody.”

Wenger’s declaration on wanting to keep Oxlade-Chamberlain comes despite him only being handed a start in 12 Premier League matches this season.

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