LONDON Arsenal want midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to stay, manager Arsene Wenger said on Monday in response to media reports that the England international was frustrated by his lack of game time at the Premier League club.
"I want him to stay at the club," Wenger told reporters ahead of second-placed Arsenal's trip to Everton on Tuesday. "I bought him at a very young age and think he is developing well.
"This season he is making steps, he is moving forward and when you have invested so much time and work in the player...I think the player loves it here. He has integrated in the qualities we want him to have and I want him to stay."
Oxlade-Chamberlain's contract runs to the end of next season but Wenger has said renewal talks have started.
Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright, now a television pundit, indicated at the weekend that the player was annoyed at his frequent substitutions.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has scored six goals in all competitions this season but completed the full 90 minutes only once.
He was substituted again on Saturday in the 69th minute of the 3-1 home win against Stoke City after chipping over the defence for Mesut Ozil to head in Arsenal's second goal.
Wenger, however, said the physical demands on players in his position were higher.
"Oxlade-Chamberlain is much more efficient going forward now, he can provide, he did on Saturday for Ozil, and he can score goals," he said.
"We have a squad of 25 people and the physical demands are the most important in that position, more than being a central defender. The changes are more frequent because of that position."
Arsenal, three points behind leaders Chelsea and unbeaten since their opening day of the season loss to Liverpool, will be without defender Shkodran Mustafi against Everton after he suffered a hamstring injury against Stoke.
Wenger said he expected the Germany international to be out for about three weeks.
"It is a challenge (to be without him) because we had good defensive stability," said Wenger. "We have Gabriel, we have (Rob) Holding who can come in for him."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond)