Stoke City have emerged as shock contenders for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as they prepare to make a club-record offer for the Arsenal star.
Oxlade-Chamberlain has become a man in demand this summer, with reports suggesting that Premier League holders Chelsea, as well as fellow top four contenders Manchester City and Liverpool, are in the hunt to sign him.
However, the Sun has now reported that Stoke have surprisingly entered the race to land the 23-year-old and, after they held talks with his representatives over a perceived £25m move, and could beat the three giants to Oxlade-Chamberlain's signature.
Stoke are on the lookout to boost their forward line after Marko Arnautovic departed the Potteries in a £20m switch to West Ham United.
Mark Hughes, who is said to be under pressure to get the Bet365 Stadium-based outfit back into the top half of the Premier League this coming season, already has the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ramadan Sobhi and Ibrahim Afellay at his disposal in those attacking areas of the pitch.
However, acquiring someone of Oxlade-Chamberlain's ilk would be viewed as a massive coup for the Welshman - particularly given the level of interest in him - and there is no reason to suggest that the man dubbed 'the Ox' wouldn't give a move to Stoke anything other than a moment's thought.
With the 2018 World Cup in Russia under a year away, the forward's position in Gareth Southgate's England squad would be under threat if he didn't regularly feature for Arsenal next term.
That fear of missing out on taking part at the international tournament, plus the opportunity to revitalise his career after an injury hit spell at the Emirates, could be the perfect tonic for Oxlade-Chamberlain to fulfil some of the potential he showed as a Southampton starlet.
If Oxlade-Chamberlain completed a surprise move to Stoke, his fee would eclipse the club's current all-time record fee of £17m set when Giannelli Imbula joined from Porto in February 2016.
With the ability to play on either wing, as a number 10, in centre midfield and as an auxiliary right-back, Oxlade-Chamberlain's versatility would be a hugely welcome addition to Hughes' first-team ranks if he managed to pull off a seemingly impossible pursuit.