It has become one of the mysteries of the 2017/18 season. A few weeks ago, it was reported that Arsenal were deep in discussions with Aaron Ramsey over the signing of a new contract. The Welshman’s current deal expires at the end of the season and so it was natural that the Gunners would see to tie down one of their most valuable assets. Then things got weird.
News broke that discussions between the two parties had broken down, with the player himself revealing that he believed an agreement to have been made before the contract offer was taken off the table by Arsenal. After losing so many of their best players over the years through an inability to compete financially with their rivals, the Gunners are now willingly allowing Ramsey to leave on a free.
From a financial standpoint, this seems to be a strange decision. Ramsey is attracting attention from all over Europe and so a new contract, even if he’s not in Unai Emery’s long term plans, would allow Arsenal to sell the Welsh midfielder for a relatively high fee. As things stand, their best hope is to sell of Ramsey at a cut price in January.
But taking the financial aspect out of the equation, is Emery right to seek to move Ramsey on? And could a departure from Arsenal be the best thing for the Welshman’s career? The case could be made on both points. Arsenal and Ramsey might be better off apart.
Ramsey has always been something of an awkward fit at the Emirates Stadium. Signed from Cardiff City as a much-hyped teenager, the midfielder was never really a quintessential Arsenal player. His best quality has always been energy, while Arsene Wenger tended to favour those who were more technically adept with the ball at their feet.
Teams like Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, who are thought to be interested in Ramsey, would be a better fit. Even Manchester City, who play with more forward thrust than Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona ever did, would suit Ramsey better. The 27-year-old has options, with Barcelona and Juventus also among the contingent believed to be monitoring Ramsey’s situation at Arsenal.
Ramsey surely regrets the decision to turn down Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United to sign for Arsenal all the way back in 2008. Not only would he have won Champions League and Premier League titles under the greatest manager to have ever lived had he pitched up at Old Trafford, Ramsey would have played for a club that was a better stylistic fit. He might have reached even higher heights as a talent.
But this contract impasse allows Ramsey to make up for lost time. Regardless of who is to blame for the manner in which discussions have broken down, this situation presents the Welshman with an opportunity at the peak of his career. He should be thankful for that.
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