Tag Archives: Aaron Ramsey

Aaron Ramsey, Ousmane Dembele and future Arsenal wingers

After the joy of watching England over the summer, the national team has reverted to type since.

Gareth Southgate has lost almost all of the good will gained due to the decision to pick Wayne Rooney for a goodbye cap, make Fabian Delph captain, and select some horrendously average players – the likes of Delph, Michael Keane, Lewis Dunk and Harry Winks.

I did not watch last night games. I could not care less for it. Mainly due to the Rooney fiasco, but also due to what Southgate is doing to the national team at the moment.

Anyway, it has been the dullest of dull interlulls, but yesterday we had a bit of breaking news as Aaron Ramsey was close to agreeing a deal to join Bayern Munich next summer on a free transfer.

These things do have to be taken with a pinch of salt. Ramsey is not actually allowed to discuss anything with a foreign club until January 1st. Although I am not naive enough to think that his people have not spoken to top clubs around Europe.

Moving to Munich would (and would not) make sense for him. I would be very surprised if he moves abroad with such a young family – his wife gave birth to twins a month ago.

However Munich seems like a good fit, and I can see him doing very well in Germany.

They are one of the few clubs that would pay him what he wants, and with James Rodriguez likely to leave and Thomas Muller seemingly shot, you can see Ramsey starting in the advanced midfield position he thrives in.

There are a couple of bellends at games who seem to laugh at booing him. Whilst he wears an Arsenal shirt, we should be backing him. And remember it is Arsenal’s decision to let him go, not his decision to leave.

I wish him luck if he joins Munich.

Other news surrounds Ousmane Dembele.

A few days ago he was heavily linked with Liverpool. I posed the question on Twitter as to whether Arsenal should be in for him at a similar price in January.

The result was close, but ultimately the British people voted to leave Europe the majority would take him.

At £85m, he would take up almost all of our summer 2019 transfer funds, especially when you take into account that he is rumoured to be on £220k a week at Barcelona.

Despite this, I would still move for him.

Next season we need two wingers, a left back and a centre back. If we assume Reiss Nelson is going to continue his fine form and development in Germany, we can assume that between him and Alex Iwobi we have the right hand side locked down. Nelson will save us £30+.

What that means is we could double up on the left hand side. use the funds we would have assigned to signing a right winger and put them towards the left winger.

attempted to do some back of the fag packet maths yesterday to show how we can sign Dembele and still have enough in the pot to secure the centre back and left back we need:

Before people get hung up on the left back, I have since changed my opinion, that we should offer Nacho Monreal one more year, cash in on Kolasinac, and buy a left back who has the potential to be long term first choice. But that is a debate for another day.

I might attempt to expand on what Arsenal can and can not buy another day.

Whilst we are talking about wingers, I encourage you to read this excellent blog by Jorge Bird detailing the talented young wingers in Arsenal’s youth teams.

I have seen our youth play a few times recently, certainly not as much as Jorge (or JW who blogs here), and we do seem to have a lot of the same type of players coming through.

We have an abundance of rapid wide men throughout our youth system, but they are also technically excellent.

Nelson aside, the two I am most excited by Xavier Amaechi and Bukayo Saka.

Amaechi is a left winger and some have claimed that he is the quickest player at the club. Currently injured, he has a big future and next year would be knocking on the door of the first team squad for the summer tour and League Cup games.

Still just 17, he has a bright future. Will we follow the same route as Nelson with him? Send him abroad a year where his sort of talent does not get kicked out of him (unlike in the Championship), before he returns to Arsenal for 2020/21 to compete for a place on Arsenal’s left hand side.

Coming up behind Amaechi is Saka, who has only just turned 16. The youngster has taken advantage of his older team mates injury to cement a a place in Arsenal’s U23s. He has also appeared for England U19s.

Saka is perhaps a year behind Amaechi in terms of development. Despite both being born in 2001 (how old does that make you feel?), they fall into different English school years. That does have an affect on development and when they could start playing more competitive football.

I expect Saka to continue his development and we will see more of him in the summer of 2020, before he pushes into the first team in 2021.

That might seem a long time away, but Saka will still just be 19 when the 2021/22 season starts!

What is exciting is underneath Alex Iwobi, we have 3 very talented wingers in Nelson, Amaechi and Saka, all of whom will be given time to develop and make an impact over the next 2 or 3 years.

That’s all from me today, the cricket is on and I have some cleaning to do. Enjoy your day!



Do Arsenal need to replace Aaron Ramsey?

Aaron Ramsey is heading out of Arsenal (although the door is not complete closed). There will be a lot of speculation in coming weeks as to who will replace the Welshman at Arsenal. Miguel Almiron one name frequently mentioned recently.

However, do Arsenal actually need to replace him?

The theory behind Arsenal being happy to let Ramsey go is that they do not see him as a first XI player in an Unai Emery team.

Emery has tried, and failed, to fit Ramsey and Mesut Ozil into the same team. With the more talented German playing wide. This has lessened Ozil’s influence on the team.

To get the best out of Ozil, you want him to be free to glide across the pitch. You always want him close to the ball. He can do not this on the right hand side of midfield.

In terms of number 10, Ozil is better than Ramsey. For all intents and purposes, Ramsey is Ozil’s back up.

Ramsey does not have the discipline to play in a midfield 2, he has shown us this during the last 5 years or so. Granit Xhaka and Lucas Torreira are starting to forge a well balanced partnership.

So Ramsey’s place within the current squad is to provide cover. Cover for Ozil and to a lesser extent, cover to Xhaka and Torreira.

When you accept that Ramsey is cover, you then need to question if we actually need to replace him.

In the middle of the park, Matteo Guendouzi has performed brilliantly this season. He is a key reason why we will not have to strengthen further in the middle of the park over the next few seasons.

Backing up Xhaka and Torreira are Guendouzi, Mohamed Elneny and Ainsley Maitland-Niles. That is more than sufficient options in the middle of the park. 5 quality players all offering something different. For the first time in a decade we are not screaming out for a central midfielder.

Further up the pitch, when you take Ramsey out of the picture, back up for Mesut Ozil also looks healthy.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan is a class act, and more than capable stepping in for Ozil for the 30-40% of games he missed injured and sick. At 29-years old, he is a senior pro. You know what he can do and he is more than useful.

Even with Ramsey in the squad, some would make a case that in terms of creativity, Mkhitaryan is the better back up for Ozil.

You then have Alex Iwobi, and even younger than him, Emile Smith Rowe.

Iwobi has been one of the most improved players under Emery, and Smith Rowe one of the most exciting young talents in England.

I would rather see Iwobi or Smith Rowe get game time, then Arsenal take a risk on someone like Almiron.

When you actually lay out the front 6 into a formation, you can see where money needs to be invested

Over the next two transfer windows, we need to focus on bringing in natural wingers.

Aubameyang is doing an average job out there, and Danny Welbeck and Iwobi are sufficient back up, but not regular starters. Add in Welbeck’s contract situation and it is the wide positions we need the investment.

For Ramsey’s reported £250,000 a week salary, we could almost split that equally on a left winger and right winger. £125,000 a week each in salary. In terms of yearly budget, it would then only need to be transfer fees we would need to find.

Two £50million wingers on 5 year deals would cost the club a combined £20million a year in amortised transfer fees, that is more than feasible within the clubs current budget.

The likes of Anthony Martial, Leon Bailey, Hirving Lozano, Kingsley Coman and Emil Forsberg spring to mind. We have also been recently linked with youngsters Kai Havertz and Ismaïla Sarr.

What is for certain, losing Ramsey is not a big deal.


The door is still open for Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal

“The contract is off the table” – it could not have been any clearer from either side. The deal was off. Aaron Ramsey was free to speak to other people from January.

His agent then put another nail in the coffin with some tweets to an Arsenal fan which confirmed he was off – but didn’t want to leave.

Like everything in football; it was down to money.

He wanted a certain salary, and after about a year of negotiating both sides had seemingly come to an agreement. The contract was on the table. But then Ramsey dithered. He did not sign.

Why he and his people did not sign, we might never know. But it was this final act that led Arsenal to take to contract off the table.

There has been plenty of talk that having seen him play for 10 weeks, manager Unai Emery felt that Ramsey did not fit into his system. Certainly not with Mesut Özil in the side.

Emery wants to play 4231. Ramsey struggles in a midfield 2, often leaving his playing partner isolated and exposed. Pushing Ozil outside reduced the Germans effectiveness – and he is very effective with a goal or assist every 157 minutes in the Premier League.

So whilst Ramsey dithered, Emery made the decision that the Welshman was no longer the guaranteed starter he became under Wenger. And making a player the clubs second highest paid player – reportedly £250k a week – was an inappropriate use of club funds. That the salary could be reinvested elsewhere, on a player who is going to be starting week in week out.

So we all expected Ramsey to leave. His agent announced he was going, burning bridges in a hugely unprofessional manner. Against Fulham – even with Ozil out – he found himself on the bench. But then he showed his quality, as he was integral in starting and finishing the wonder goal.

Ramsey leaving Arsenal is not yet a done thing. He is not yet out of the door. He is still wearing the red and white. So let’s work through the scenarios.

Ramsey decides to leave.

In January he can negotiate with foreign clubs; with the view of a free transfer in the summer. Or someone might stomp up £20m to secure him for the second half of the season – remembering he will not be Champions League tied.

But where could he end up?

Money is clearly a key motivator. As is playing.

On the first factor, money, who could actually afford to pay him the £250k that Arsenal were seemingly willing too? And if we think that figure is exaggerated, who would pay him £200k?

Man City could afford him with ease. But realistically would they want or need him?

With Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Bernard Silva and Riyad Mahrez, they have plenty of number 10s in their squad. Investing in Ramsey wouldn’t make sense. And he would struggle to get the game time he desires, possible not even make the bench.

Liverpool have been heavily linked in recent days. But would they really be willing to pay him what he wants?

Mo Salah is reportedly their highest paid player on £200k a week. Then Firminho on £180k. Sadio Mane on just £90k. Would they make Ramsey their highest paid player? That will soon get other players knocking at the chairman’s door for more money.

And where would he actually fit in? They play a hard working midfield that frees up Salah, Mane and Firminho to attack at will. Playing Ramsey would unbalance them, like it does Arsenal.

Manchester United can afford him. And he would be a realistic target if Paul Pogba leaves. But if Pogba remains; United are in the same position as Arsenal.

Either having to play Pogba or Ramsey deep in a two or wide to accommodate the other one. Ultimately they will have a similar decision as Arsenal. Do you pay Ramsey what he wants even though he won’t start week in, week out?

Chelsea is an interesting one. They need home grown players and if Eden Hazard leaves, they might see renewing the Ramsey / Olivier Giroud as a way forward. They could be an outside bet.

As for moving abroad, I have seen AC Milan, Juventus and Bayern Munich mentioned. But next summer he will be the father of 8-month old twins. Is he really going to uproot his family, away from the support network?

And can too many foreign teams afford the €11m a year he is commanding?

At Juventus, Cristiano Ronaldo is the highest paid player on €30m. Next up is Douglas Costa on just €8m. No one else is on more than €100k a year. Or £90k in British sterling. Will they break the bank for Ramsey? Making him their 2nd best paid player? On twice the much of the 3rd most paid? I doubt it.

AC Milan are no different. Only Gonzalo Higuain is on above €100k (€145k reportedly). Are they going to nearly double what he is on to get Ramsey? The Welshman will be on 3 times the salary of the next highest paid player if the match Arsenal’s reported £250k (€280) offer.

Bayern Munich certainly have a capacity to go north woods of €200k. Robert Lewandowski is on €225k. But like the other sides, would they be willing to make Ramsey the highest paid player?

Last summer they gave Leon Goretzka €190k a week. That made the German youngster their second highest paid player. Ramsey is looking at €100k more than this…

So suddenly lots of doors are shutting around Ramsey. The interest is not there at what he is demanding. It is a reality check.

Does he go to United and end up in the same situation at Arsenal, just on a higher wage? Does he wait for Chelsea to sell Hazard and hope they bring him in to replace him?

Or does he drop his salary demands to a more realistic £150k a week to generate interest from Liverpool – and certainly make Manchester United interested.

Think of that figure for a minute. £150k a week. £100k less than what was reportedly on the table at Arsenal. £5.2m a year less. Suddenly could Arsenal be interested again?

At £150k a week, Ramsey would fit in with the squads current wage structure. It would only actually be an increase of £40k on his current deal. An extra £2m a year.

If Ramsey lowered his wage demands to other clubs to £150k a week, it’d certainly get another contract from Arsenal on the table.

So Ramsey would not have to move, could bring up his family in the surroundings they have been used to for a decade, and he would still get plenty of game time.

Whilst he wouldn’t be a guaranteed starter, Ozil has a history of illness and back spasms. He misses at least 30% of the season – last year it was closer to 50%. Ramsey would still end up playing pretty much every game – starting 15 – 20 and coming off the bench for the majority of the rest.

Ramsey also has his injury problems.

Last season he started just 21 Premier League games. The year before it was 13. Over the last 5 years he has averaged just 20 league starts a season.

Even playing back up to Ozil he wouldn’t be too far off that figure were he to remain.

So things around Ramsey will go quiet for a bit. His agent will be speaking in dark cafes across England and Europe seeing what interest there is for his client. And at what salary. He will probably come back with bad news for Ramsey.

Manchester United is a maybe, the others will all say “no” at his current salary demands.

With no new contract signed in March, Arsenal will reopen talks. Maybe stick a £150k contract on the table. Point at the fact that they know this is the level at what Liverpool are interested at. Why leave when the same money is on the table from Arsenal? Perhaps offer him a 5 year deal instead of 4. A little bit extra in an appearance fee.

One thing is for certain, the door is not shut, Aaron Ramsey’s future is not a guarantee to be away from Arsenal.