Holidays are a weird thing aren’t they? You look forward to them for months, away from the stress of real life and work and putting the bins out. But when you get here you lie down for an hour by the pool and worry that you are wasting your time and start thinking about what you could be doing. Work, home, bills etc
So – am on a lounger by a pool in Tenerife having just destroyed a 400 page book in about 3 hours and have started to fill up the void in my worry locker with thoughts of Aaron Ramsey.
In all honestly he’s not a player I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about. He’s always been a bit “meh” to me. Sure – he’s got his place in the pantheon of Arsenal legends. Next to Henry, Bergkamp, Vieira. But also next to Morrow, Linighan, Vaasen, and Christophe Wreh.
Scoring trophy winning goals by defacto makes you a club legend. That’s a given, but clubs throughout the world are littered with Steve Morrows. Average players who took their moment of glory which can never be removed.
Now clearly Ramsey is many levels above your Morrows, Wrehs and Linighans, but similarly he is way behind Bergkamp, Adams and such like.
And this is where the problems begin. Firstly he’s Welsh, so he has an entire nation of Arsenal fans behind him who would literally follow him off a cliff. Admirable for sure, and entirely consistent with players that come from non world class nations. I know Nigerians who think Iwobi is the second coming, for instance.
So at this point, he’s polarized. Rational debate goes out of the window. The Welsh Messi. I get that, and if I didn’t come from a country that has produced John Terry, Steven Gerrard and countless other bastards, I’d be the same.
So where in reality are Arsenal and Aaron Ramsey?
Is he World class? No.
Would he cost £50m to replace? Yes.
What’s his best position? Probably CAM.
Are there better CAM options available? Yes.
Would he improve with better coaching and next to a couple of bastards in midfield? Also yes.
So what’s the answer?
In all seriousness I have no idea. His best games for Arsenal are when he takes over the game. That’s often hard for him when Ozil plays and he, rather than Ramsey, is the focus of the play. It’s also hard for him when the midfield becomes congested. He finds space hard to come by and can often run into spaces that the forwards should be occupying.
What’s his strength? His physical ability is almost freakish, incredibly fit, very strong and an Herculean will to succeed. Technically he’s good but no Bergkamp. He’s not quick, and he’s nowhere near as clever as Ozil.
One of the problems is that he’s often been asked to be box to box. Yet he’s also no Vieira or Yaya, the two great box to box players of the PL era. Defensively he’s solid but not amazing, look at Kante yesterday, he’s probably the only true box to box in the league right now.
Who are the comparable players in world football? Oddly, Ox is similar. Another conundrum who never really found his true position at Arsenal and the jury still out at Liverpool. Dele Alli? No, he’s part fraud I think, piggybacking off Ericksen (who I think
Is sensational). He’s very much Frank Lampard. Lampard was such an odd player. He should have been no where near as good as he turned out. No real standout skill, but goodness he was super effective.
Chelsea and Mourinho in particular set the team up solely for Lampard. Workers behind him, pace wide and a big mobile bloke up front for the knockdowns. Ramsey would have been better in that Chelsea team than Lampard. Convinced. He’s cleverer and technically better. Lampard is the luckiest footballer ever to have played the game, but he made the most of his fortune.
Would the new manager, let’s presume Arteta, do what Jose did with Lampard? No idea. Can Ozil and Ramsey play in the same team? Certainly not away from home. It’s hard to carry two players who can be anonymous at the best of times, part of the reason for our appalling away form is down to this, I think.
At that point, the question is, who is more effective? Again it’s going to come down to the manager. It doesn’t feel that Arsenal would ever employ a bang bang manager, rather sticking with the beautiful football mandate that’s stuck since Wenger joined. This is clearly far better suited to Ozil.
If the club did let him go, I don’t believe they would replace like for like. But if they did Max Meyer is apparently similar (though I’ve no idea if that’s true). Perhaps Draxler. But I’m struggling for other alternates
So should we be upset if he goes? On an emotional and personal level many fans will be. And I’ve literally no idea what I think. And it’s usually at that point where you realise you wouldn’t really care if they left or not.
In his favour, he seems to love the club and would probably make a great captain, and he’s clearly a far more effective player than Jack Wilshere. But should the club move heaven and earth to keep him? I’m not convinced, but hey, what the hell do I know?
I do know that if he went to Man United, he would improve them immediately. So perhaps to prevent that possibility we should make him captain. Fingers crossed the club do the right thing, whatever that is.