Rumours are swirling that Aaron Ramsey will be the subject of a bid from Italian side Juventus, is it time for the Gunners to part ways with the Welshman?
Aaron Ramsey has had a underwhelming start to the 2016-17 campaign, having missed a total of 19 games through injury. The Welshman was injured on the opening day of the season after going off with a hamstring injury against Liverpool, only to pick up another hamstring injury following the match against Basel.
So far, the Welshman has managed 13 appearances this season – 6 of which have come as a substitute – and has picked up 2 assists while failing to open his goalscoring account for the season.
Ramsey put in yet another underwhelming performance after playing in a number of roles during last night’s draw against Bournemouth, and Arsenal fans openly vented their frustration with the midfielder on Twitter.
Arsenal’s PL win percentage Aug 2014 to Jan 2017 with Aaron Ramsey starting – 48%. Without – 68%
— Orbinho (@Orbinho) January 3, 2017
Alexis Sanchez could also be seen wildly gesticulating at Ramsey and using colourful language to tell the Welshman exactly what he thought, and while that might not have been the right thing for Sanchez to do, it more or less encapsulated how fans were feeling at the time.
Ramsey’s tendency to over-elaborate is often his own undoing. On many occasions, the Welshman will chose to play a flick or a back-heel that often does not come off, and this only serves to heap more pressure on him as Arsenal fans are very quick to get on their players’ backs when things are not going well for the club.
And while Ramsey is still a very good player – as we saw during the Euros – his constant injuries are a problem for both him and for Arsenal. He missed a total of 29 games through injury last season. In the 2013-14, the Welshman missed 21 games after straining a muscle in his thigh.
Many thought that Ryan Shawcross’ fateful tackle on Ramsey would put an end to any progress the youngster had made, but in the 2013-14 season many now thought he was finally fulfilling the promise he showed during his early Arsenal career.
Ramsey was on fire for Arsenal in 2013-14 as they flew to the top of the table, and many had already touted him for player of the season before his injury.
He then injured himself against West Ham United and would go on to miss the next 3 months of the season. Having already made a huge impression that season, however, having won Arsenal’s player of the month poll for four consecutive months. He was also rewarded with a new contract, despite signing one only the season before that.
Ramsey returned from injury and continued his fine form, eventually scoring a dramatic extra-time winner in the FA Cup final victory over Hull and ending Arsenal’s 9-year wait for a trophy.
He ended the season with 16 goals in 34 appearances and was unsurprisingly named Arsenal’s Player of the Season that year, with many citing his injury as a key factor in Arsenal title challenge petering out.
Those days seem like a distant memory now. Ramsey was fantastic for Wales as one of the two main focal points of Chris Coleman’s side alongside Gareth Bale, but with his season interrupted by injury he has looked like a shadow of the player that lifted the FA Cup for Arsenal in 2013-14.
At 26, time is not on the Welshman’s side and he has already been leapfrogged as first choice in central midfield by Arsenal’s summer signing Granit Xhaka.
Santi Cazorla and Francis Coquelin are also firmly ahead of him in the pecking order, although the Spaniard could soon depart Arsenal – with Wenger already identifying a replacement for him in Miralem Pjanic.
Juventus are said to be interested in the Welshman should Pjanic make the move, but should Arsenal cash in? In this season’s incarnation, Ramsey seems to be a passenger. He has played at No. 10, right midfield, central midfield, but has not imposed himself in any of those positions with any sort of authority.
Granted, he has not even regained full match sharpness but with Arsenal’s squad well supplied with midfielders – and Jack Wilshere still out on loan at Bournemouth – will there be place in this side for Ramsey? Especially if Arsenal do go out and by another midfielder, something that several outlets are claiming they are likely to do.
There is no doubt that Ramsey is capable of being a very, very good player and his performances in the past have shown that given a good run in the side, he can quickly grow into an influential, goalscoring midfielder.
But Arsenal fans are quickly running out of patience, and yet another injury-plagued player who is constantly in and out of the team is something that most fans have grown completely weary of.
Even if Ramsey can get over his constant injuries, there is no guarantee that he will get a run of starts for Arsenal – especially in his preferred role. No. 10 will belong to Ozil for as long as he is around, and Alex Iwobi is already being groomed for that position.
Central midfield has tonnes of competition, and Ramsey will simply never be an effective winger. This is the problem with being a jack of all trades and master of none.
Ramsey actually looked at his best last night when he was shifted back into central midfield alongside Xhaka. He was linking up with teammates much more effectively, putting in tackles and making late runs into the box – something he thrived on in 2013-14.
But unless he is given an extended run there – something he probably won’t be – he simply won’t be able to grow into the role alongside Xhaka.
We got a glimpse of how Ramsey can work with Xhaka – when he started playing more disciplined. He needs to realise he’s best as a playmaker
— Arsenal Column (@ArsenalColumn) January 4, 2017
If Arsenal don’t renew Ramsey’s contract, it is very likely that he will leave at the end of this season or the next. It might be better for both the club and player if this was the case.
Ramsey can join a team where he is given the role he desires and is an automatic starter, and Arsenal can look for a player that is more suited to the system and players that Arsenal currently have.
If Aaron Ramsey does leave, it will be sad to see him go. There is a level of sympathy and sentiment attached to Ramsey given his much-lauded mental fortitude and determination to come back from an injury that many players never recover from. Add to this the fact that at the end of this contract – should he see it out – he will have been with the club for a decade.
Despite this, there is a general feeling that Ramsey has simply not achieved the potential he once showed. At 26, he won’t be afforded as much patience as he was in his younger years. It seems that this season could be a make or break one for Ramsey, and the way things are currently going it doesn’t look like it’s going to be the former.