Let me start by saying that Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is a very gifted young man who will become a huge player for Arsenal.
And yet… I really think that the best thing for his development would be to be loaned out to another Premiership club for the remainder of this season.
In his 14 starts and eight substitute appearances this season, AOC has had some great moments and showed no shortage of skill and determination.
But he has also, mostly, looked a bit out of his depth.
In his last two outings (as a starter against Brighton on Saturday and a late substitute against West Ham) his displays were characterised by wrong options taken and little in the way of end result.
Against the Hammers, we were already winning 5-1 when he came on, but he twice took ridiculously ambitious shooting chances when a simple pass would have been much more likely to yield a goal.
Of course there are mitigating circumstances (aside from his age and inexperience): he was playing with unfamiliar line-ups and untested partnerships, as with Jenkinson at the weekend.
However, in the moments when he has had the ball he has seldom seemed to do the right thing and was generally not on the same wavelength as his colleagues.
Many young talents have a “second season dip” and AOC is probably just experiencing one of them right now, before he kicks on next season.
But he is not good enough to command a starting place and, therefore, his opportunities in the first team will remain limited to cameos for the rest of the season unless there is a serious injury to more senior players.
With that in mind, I feel he would learn a lot more by going out on loan to a team where he could expect to play most games – rather like the experience Jack Wilshere had during his loan spell at Bolton.
Jack came back a tougher, wiser player and I would expect Alex to do the same.
If he were to spend the next few months at somewhere like Wigan, Norwich, West Brom or Swansea he would get a lot more than just extra playing minutes. He would start to learn about the responsibilities that come with being a team player (responsibilities he has been neglecting recently in the red and white).
A few bollockings from good pros who don’t have anything like Alex’s talents but are prepared to work as hard as they possibly can for their team mates will do him a power of good.
And experiencing a life that won’t be nearly as cosseted as that afforded to the Arsenal players will also be good for reminding him just how fortunate he is.
He would – like Jack – return to Arsenal a more rounded player and man.
A final advantage will be that he will be out of the firing line of the more volatile element among our supporters – fans who don’t seem happy unless they have a hate figure to shout at.
Alex is possibly only a few iffy performances away from starting to attrach the sort of groans and abuse that have dogged Theo Walcott for years.
All this is not meant to sound like an attack on AOC. As I said at the outset, I am really confident he will turn into a huge talent for Arsenal and England.
But if a loan-out was good enough for Wilshere (and Szczesny and others), why not Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain?