Tag Archives: Manchester United

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.



Transfer fees set to become obsolete?

Twelve months ago a lot was being made in the press about the contract is Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

“1 year left, how have Arsenal got themselves into this position” were the cries at the time.

An interesting interview with Arsene Wenger gave a glimpse into what he believed was the future.

With dramatically increasing transfer fees, the former Arsenal boss was of the opinion that the future would see a lot more players winding down their contract and leaving for no transfer fee.

That clubs would offer shorter term deals to players 2 to 3 years, a player would do his time and move on.

It would provide security to the club – knowing that if a player signed a 3 year deal he was likely to see it out – and security to the player – knowing that if he fell out of favour, he could spend a year away on loan before moving on.

For those scoffing at the opinion, writing it off as a way Wenger justifies the clubs handling of the Ozil and Sanchez contract situations, let’s look at those contracts set to expire within the next 2 years:

Manchester United


David de Gea*, Anthony Martial*, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera, Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, Luke Shaw, Matteo Darmian*, Antonio Valencia*, Ashley Young, Andreas Pereira


Marcus Rashford*, Nemanja Matic*, Eric Bailly, Marouane Fellaini*, Lee Grant

*Contract contains option for a further year



Aaron Ramsey, Danny Welbeck, Nacho Monreal, Petr Cech, Stephan Lichtsteiner


Laurent Koscielny, Carl Jenkinson

Manchester City


Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Brahim Diaz


Raheem Sterling, Sergio Aguero, Ilkay Gundogan, David Silva, Fernandinho, Fabian Delph, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Phil Foden, Claudio Bravo



Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Fernando Llorente, Michel Vorm


Christian Eriksen, Vincent Janssen



Cesc Fabregas, David Luiz, Olivier Giroud, Gary Cahill, Lucas Piazon, Willy Caballero, Robert Green


Eden Hazard, Willian, Cesar Azpilicueta, Pedro, Marco van Ginkel, Ethan Ampadu



James Milner, Daniel Sturridge, Alberto Moreno, Lazar Markovic


Adam Lallana, Joel Matip, Nathaniel Clyne, Divock Origi

If you disregard the guys expiring in. 2020, you could easily build a competitive team with players whose contract expires in 12 months.

De Gea

Alderweireld Kompany Vertonghen

Milner Herrera Fabregas Shaw

Martial Ramsey


I do not think transfer fees will become completely obsolete in the future. Teams will still want to sign players under contract. But what will happen is the majority of transfer will be free, or loan deals, and fees for players under contract will become astronomical.

The future could be upon us.


Premier League Top 6: Signings so far

The Transfer window shuts in less than 2 weeks time on Thursday 9th August.

This year, Premier League clubs have voted to shut the window for incoming players before the season starts, however players can still leave to Spain, France, Italy, Germany, etc.

With a little under 2 weeks to go, on a boring Saturday morning, shall we have a little look at the transfer dealings of the top 6:

Arsenal have done the most business, which should be expected considering they finished at the bottom of the pile last season.

Whilst Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City & Manchester United have all spent big on singular players, Arsenal have spread their spending across 5 players, bringing in a mixture of youth and experience.

The biggest spenders of the summer have been Liverpool with over £160million spent. It should kill off all the defending of Liverpool that they do not spend as much as those above them.

The majority of their cash has come from the sale of Coutinho in January. Keita and Fabinho coming in has to be offset by Oxlade-Chamberlain being out for 12 months and Emre Can leaving on a free.

For me, their best signing is Shaqiri. He is a brilliant back up player and game changing substitute. A steal at just £13m.

I do not really understand Manchester City‘s transfer dealings. It probably shows that they have more money than sense.

They already have Leroy Sane, Raheem Sterling, Bernado Silva, Kevin de Bruyne and Davild Silva who can play play in the 3 attacking positions behind Sergio Aguero or Gabriel Jesus. Spending £60m on Riyad Mahrez just seems excessive.

I guess the thing with Manchester City is having won the league by 19 points, losing just two games, any big money signing could have been deemed “excessive.”

It feels a bit like Chelsea ~2007 when their squad was so strong that they ended up buying players just to stop rivals signing them.

Fred could turn out to be the player that Manchester United need to get the best out of Paul Pogba. Pairing him with Nemanja Matic and the Frenchman looks like a solid central midfield.

£19million for a left back who has played not much more first team football than me seems silly, but the proof will be in the pudding.

Chelsea‘s business could be about who leaves rather than who comes in. The money seems to have dried up for the club, and they seemed to wasted a lot of time and money on removing Antonio Conte and getting in Maurizio Sarri.

Taking into account that they finished 5th, just 7 points above Arsenal, you would expect them to have bought a lot more than a central midfielder. How much money have they wasted on central midfielders since signing N’Golo Kante and letting Matic leave (Drinkwater, Bakayoko, Barkley, Jorginho)?

With the futures of Eden Hazard, Willian and Thibaut Courtois in the air, it feels like they are waiting to see who leaves before bringing anyone in. It could be a deadline day dash for them.

As for Tottenham, they have bought no one. In this game, you stand still you actually go backwards. With Arsenal and Liverpool bringing in a lot of quality players, they could quickly find themselves struggling next season.

Clearly the £1bn stadium is impacting their transfer dealings. They have signed their key players to new contracts, but their over reliance on Harry Kane, Cristian Erickson and Dele Alli remains.

I would not be surprised if they do not actually sign anyone.

What I will find interesting next year is the progress of the 4 defensive midfielders Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Liverpool signed.