Are Arsenal right to let Aaron Ramsey leave?
May 17, 2014 is a significant day in Arsenal's history. Arsene Wenger's Arsenal had been without a trophy for nine years and this particular day proved to be the end of the rot.
The joy and relief of the Arsenal fan base knew no bounds as they finally ended their trophy drought. It could have been so different. Hull City, their opponents on the day started the game as men possessed.
They took a 2-0 lead and for the majority of the game looked to be heading for a giant FA cup final triumph.
Santi Cazorla and Laurent Koscielny scored two goals for Arsenal with the latter clinching the equalizer.
In the first half of extra time, Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey scored the winning goal that clinched the trophy for Arsenal.
Fast forward three years to 27 May 2017 and Aaron Ramsey does it again for Arsenal. He scores their winning goal against Chelsea, clinching Arsenal's third FA cup win in four years.
Although in less dramatic fashion than the previous winning goal, the 2017 winning strike was as important because it considerably reduced the pressure on Arsene Wenger and Arsenal.
Fast forward again by eighteen months and there is huge uncertainty about the future of the Welsh international.
With his contract expiring at the end of the 2018/2019 season, much ado has been made of which club his future lies.
A contract was reportedly placed on the table for Ramsey and subsequently withdrawn for reasons many don't seem to understand. The reasons notwithstanding, have Arsenal made the right choice in letting him go?
The most important question in determining whether Arsenal are making the right decision or not is this. Is Arsenal going to be a better team without him?
The answer is No. Aaron Ramsey joined Arsenal from Cardiff in 2008. Since breaking into the first team he has been an integral, non-burdensome part of the Arsenal set up.
He is currently the longest-serving player in the team and by letting him go, Arsenal will lose leadership and experience.
Ramsey represents the dream of all gunners cutting their teeth in the Arsenal academy and hoping to one day like Ramsey become the main feature of the team they know and love.
Ramsey being farmed out by Arsenal is a statement that the club has little or no value for one of their own. (See Wilshere, Gibbs, Chamberlain and Walcott for other examples).
Ramsey's age is another factor worthy of consideration. The Welsh international has been around for so long that we tend to forget that he is only 27.
He should just be arriving at the peak of his powers at this age. All the experience, training, skills and coaching that have been accumulated over the years would tell at this point.
Why then should Arsenal let him leave at a time when they should be reaping the fruits of their labour?
They should be sticking the captain band on his arm and allowing him to lead the club into this new era. Jack Wilshere seems to think so too. Wilshere talking to Islington Gazette says:
“He’s [Ramsey] grown up to be a great player with Arsenal. They could do with someone like him. We know what he can do for the club. For me, he’s a future Arsenal captain. I know he loves the club. It’s difficult for me to comment on because I’m not there but I do know he’s a great player – if it was me I know I would want to keep him around.He’s a great guy to have around. He’s been at the club so long and knows it inside out. If you look at what he’s done for the club too”.
Many will argue that Arsenal could buy two players and put both on the wages that Ramsey would command if the figures being touted around as his contract demands are to be believed.
The problem with that school of thought is simple. How many times have we seen decent, good or even great players move from other leagues to the premier league and flop disastrously?
Many also move from lower teams in the Premier League to the big boys and mess up because they cannot deal with the added pressure.
Why then should Arsenal lose a proven top team performer in the hope of gaining two players who may not cope in the big time?
They say a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. Yes, It really is. The time it would take such players to adapt to the Premier League and to Unai Emery's style of play may be quite long. Ramsey, on the other hand, knows the Premier League and would have already had one year with Emery.
Goal scoring midfielders are a rare gem in football. Aaron Ramsey is certainly one of them. He has scored 57 goals in 389 appearances for Arsenal as at the time of writing.
This stats are very reasonable for a central midfielder when one also puts into consideration the fact that for some of that period he was young, still learning his trade or just recovering from the many injuries he suffered earlier in his career.
In the 2013/ 2014 season, Ramsey scored 16 goals and gave 10 assists in 36 appearances for Arsenal.
This shows the levels a confident, fit and firing Aaron Ramsey can attain. With Emery's preference of playing him as a 10 and closer to goal, his stats should improve considerably. How that affects Ozil and his position on the pitch is for the coach to figure out.
Ramsey has done what Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette and other recent big money signings haven't. He has scored the decisive goal that clinched two trophies for Arsenal.
Arsenal is in uncharted territory. They just parted ways with their manager of 22 years who took decisions about players and every other thing the board let him control.
In the meantime, they have also lost their CEO, Ivan Gazidis to the Italian club, AC Milan. It is only fitting to say that the gunners are in a period of transition.
In Ramsey, Arsenal will lose the old guard that should have led the team through this transition both on and off the pitch. The most despicable part of all this is that He will be lost on a free transfer.
Arsenal could do with this great player that Juventus, Bayern Munich and PSG are reportedly interested in.