It’s fair to say that Aaron Ramsey has divided Gooner opinion since he joined Arsenal from Cardiff as a 17-year-old in 2008. Snatched from beneath Sir Alex’s nose in one of Wenger’s better deals, Ramsey seemed an exciting young prospect.
Axed down in an horrific tackle by Stoke orc, Ryan Shawcross – it looked like Ramsey’s football career might be cut short, however, he recovered miraculously. Wenger played him all over the place – never really giving him the playmaker role that he thrived in for the Welsh national team. He established himself as a decent box-to-box midfielder, with huge stamina, and an talent for arriving late in the box and tucking home some important goals.
His 2013/14 season was probably the high point of his Arsenal career, culminating in the extra time decider at Wembley in the FA Cup Final against Hull, which broke Arsenal’s trophy drought.
Ramsey went through patches where he seemed to try to do too much on the ball – he was a slow cog in a team that relied on speedy tiki-taka football. A never-ending stream of poor performances didn’t seem to affect his seleection prospects – his name was always one of the first on Wenger’s team sheet. In his defence, Ramsey never hid: he always gave his best on the pitch, despite some pretty odious reactions from the Arsenal fans, during the toxic latter years of Arséne’s reign.
Despite being plagued by injuries, Ramsey has made 248 starts (and 98 substitutions) for Arsenal, scoring 59 goals in all competitions.
In the final year of his contract, Ramsey and the Club – despite protracted negotiations – have been unable to agree on a new deal, and – unless Ramsey is sold in January (unlikely) – he will be leaving on a free at the end of the season.
His pending departure divides opinion almost as much as his presence in the team.
A few of the Gunners Town writing team have offered their opinions below. What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.
Here’s what the Twitterverse thinks:
— ♡rsenal (@invinciblog) November 5, 2018
Paul Hepker (@invinciblog)
I, personally, will be sad to see Aaron leave – especially on a free. In this age where players come and go, there is a lot to be said for the continuity and sense of tradition brought by senior players. If Ramsey’s contract was extended, he would be one of the Club’s longest-serving players.
If Emery has no place for him in his starting XI, however – there is no way to justify the kind of salary he commands. It would be fairer too for the player if he was to get first team action elsewhere.
I do think it is a travesty that Arsenal allowed his contract to run down. (I am aware that his agent may play a huge role in things falling apart.)
Cheers Aaron, and thanks for the amazing memories. I got to see both your FA Cup winners live, and will always be grateful for your dogged determination and commitment.
Steve Wellman (@wellmington):
Don’t be sentimental, be appreciative of what he has given to the club and bid him farewell.
Unfortunately, Ramsey doesn’t fit into the Emery philosophy.
Not disciplined enough to be one of the two CM’s.
Not fluid enough to be one of the attacking four.
Lost in between, with no fixed abode.
Rambo, thanks for the FA Cup winning goals,
but adios amigo.
Nigel Evans (@ArsenalNorthWales):
I’m disappointed that Aaron Ramsey will be leaving and not for footballing reasons. I’ll be sorry to see him leave because – like myself – he is Welsh, and I’ve always had an affinity for Welsh players at Arsenal even though there have been very few in the 50 plus years that I’ve supported The Arsenal. The only ones I recall are the late John Roberts, Peter Nicholas, John Harrison and Aaron. To me there is always something special about supporting your national team when there a member of the team you support playing.
Last season our supporters club was invited to the Emirates, where after the game we were able to meet Aaron: our secretary’s daughter was almost overcome with emotion on meeting him.
In the years I have supported The Arsenal I’ve seen very many players leave but the club carried on. I have seen much better players than Ramsey either leave or retire, I was absolutely gutted when Charlie George left (he’s still my all time hero). I think of the likes of Liam Brady, Frank Stapleton, Ray Kennedy, and Thiery Henry all who left for pastures new and the likes of Tony Adams,Dennis Bergkamp, Lee Dixon, David O’Leary and others who retired.
Will I think of Ramsey as a legend? No far from it, even though I will always be eternally grateful for his two FA Cup final winning goals. I can understand the reasons Unai Emery feels he can dispense with Ramsey’s services. Looking at the team this season I think Ramsey is not really part of his plans, looking at some of our performances I honestly don’t think Ramsey can really improve us.
It is more than obvious that Emery’s preferred midfield duo is Torreira & Xhaka and personally I agree with Emery: they would be my first choice too. I can’t see where Ramsey fits into our team now and I’ve had enough of ‘square peg in round hole’ team selections over the last few seasons. I think it’s ridiculous that Ramsey will leave on a free though.
I wish Ramsey well for the future and thank him for the FA Cup final goals and just hope that he doesn’t come back to haunt us!
James Howson (@BigJimmy_V)
The Ramsey Enigma
The first time I saw Aaron Ramsey was in the 2008 FA Cup final, while playing for Cardiff vs the eventual winners Portsmouth, he came on at the 61st minute for a cameo. A 17-year-old Ramsey showed glimmers of talent in his half hour on a Wembley pitch not long laid, as he dribbled past the odd Ghana international, or flicked the ball onto a free team mate on the flank.
The problem with this blonde (no idea if that was hair dye or not) prodigy was, everyone knew he was good, everyone knew he had talent, they just didn’t know where was his best position. You could see Aaron Ramsey was going places, all the top clubs were after him although they all faced the same problem should they sign him, where does he play? He was not slick or fast enough to play in an attacking role, but he was too attacking to play in a central midfield 2.
In the June of the same year Arsenal beat Manchester United among others to the signing of the future Welsh international, the rest is history as Arsene Wenger went on to try Ramsey in a whole host of positions including a random spell on the right wing. Many hoped young Jack Wilshere would be the midfield of “Rambo” for many years to come but injuries blighted both and now as we see Jack playing for West Ham , we are left to also see the other of that enigmatic duo leave the Arsenal.
Sadly for Aaron Ramsey’s next clubs fans the question will still be ‘…but where does he play?’
Marble Halls TV (@Marblehalls_TV)
Paul Hepker (aka invinciblog/batmandela) recently returned to South Africa after a 16-year stint in Hollywood, where he plied his trade as a film and TV composer. He adopted Arsenal in the mid-80′s, and if it doesn’t start behaving soon he’s going to send it to boarding school.
As an ardent Gunner propagandist – he has contributed a number of tongue-in-cheeky images to the Goonerverse – one of which is bound to get him into trouble at some point.