THE BIG QUESTION; AARON OR JACK?
The story always has been one that fascinated and showed how early on in his reign, the allure of Arsene Wenger’s person held sway over several young footballers. In 2008, Aaron Ramsey whose father was a huge Manchester United fan seemed to have signed for Alex Ferguson’s side, with the club going as far as announcing his signing on their website, even when the player had not put pen to paper on a deal concerning personal terms.
All of a sudden like a thief stealing through the night, Arsenal swooped in. Arsene Wenger had the then 17-year-old Welshman flown to Switzerland, during the Euro 2008 tournament, for a face-to-face meeting on a private jet. The personal meeting showed Ramsey how much more the gaffer, unlike Fergie’s team, which had Gary Neville meet Ramsey at their training ground, wanted him.
This signing has proven very important to the club’s efforts, as Ramsey despite suffering what could have been a career ending injury has overcome this setback and has been playing phenomenally for years now. The injury suffered at the hands of the insufferable Stoke City captain Ryan Shawcross could have damaged the spirits of any other young player making his way in the game, but not our Aaron. The fighter in him has seen to his becoming a huge part of the current Arsenal setup and that of the Welsh national team.
Indefatigable, an inhuman sense of touch, space and timing and a wonderful nose for goal, Ramsey brings to the table many characteristics lacked by many midfielders, scratch that, lacked by any other player in the team.
Due to the way the team over the years has been built to thrive on a fluid, passing style, we have several players in there who are useful only with the ball at their feet, allowing them to either drive at defences or make incisive passes. Ramsey is different in that regard, as he likes to give the ball to a teammate whilst he quickly moves in search of space to then receive another pass. It might seem a simple task, but that is far from the case, as usually when he makes a move after giving the ball to a teammate, he is able to find himself in dangerous areas, where he can wreak havoc on the opposition.
His performance in the first leg of the Europa League quarter final at home to CSKA Moscow encapsulated brilliantly the sublime makeup of the guy I think is probably the best box-to-box midfielder in the league when fully fit. His failure to clinch that elusive hat trick on the night was the only dampener on what was a brilliant performance.
With a player with the quality of Mesut Ozil in the team, it is essential that there is a runner, who can drag opponents out of position leaving space for other teammates or to do so by himself.
At 27, the time is now for Ramsey to score what could arguably be the biggest deal of his career. He seems heavily underappreciated at the Emirates, as he has thrived during a period where success has largely come in Cup final, mind you Cup finals where he has been the hero on more than one occasion. Despite all this, he does not seem to get the love meted out to academy graduate and fellow ‘often injured midfielder’ Jack Wilshere.
After that brilliant night of football against Barcelona in 2011, when Jack manhandled in midfield legends such as Xavi and Iniesta, everyone thought he would go on to boss things for the Gunners. Over half a decade later, his best position is still not known and though he has shown flashes of his former self in large swathes during the season, he also has gone largely unnoticed in many games.
Jack tends to get all the love of the fans due to the belief that he has Arsenal running through his veins and for his passion, which he wears unashamedly on his sleeves. Ramsey meanwhile is the calm, quiet one who does not always exude too much passion, the cool cat, yet anyone would be wrong to doubt his love and passion for this club.
With both having their deals run down, a sad, unfortunate scene after the Sanchez debacle, many believed Jack would be the first and quickest to put pen to paper on a new deal, on his new quest to eventually captain the club. This has not been the case, as himself and the club seem to be some ways apart on his actual value, wage-wise. Jack would be wonderful to have in the squad as he provides drive, tenacity and impressive passing ability not seen from an Englishman in a long while. However, if one had to be chosen between him and Ramsey as vital for the future efforts of the team, I would have to go with Ramsey, who has dragged himself from career threatening injury to become a successful, impactful player on his way to legendary status with those wonderful Cup Final heroics.