Aaron Ramsey will be missed, but he’s not irreplaceable

Aaron Ramsey is set to leave Arsenal after a decade at the club. According to the Ornacle, Arsenal withdrew the offer of a new four-year deal, leaving the 27-year-old Welshman free to join another team at the end of the season.

I have made no secret of my desire for Ramsey to stay. He is a brave athlete with unique qualities, most notably his engine and box to box capability. As our longest serving player and only British starter, I believed he could emerge as the leader to help Unai Emery shape this new era at the club, but obviously it’s not meant to be. With the bumper contract handed to Mesut Ozil in January, this was always going to be a difficult negotiation to get over the line.

However, as much as I am disappointed, I am not devastated.

After setting the premiership alight in 2013-14, Ramsey has been niggled by injuries and failed to consistently deliver elite level performances. Despite making big single contributions, like his winning goal in the 2017 FA Cup Final, he has been surpassed by other midfielders in the league. For example, Dele Alli has scored 38 goals in 111 premiership performances compared to Ramsey’s 36 in 240 demonstrating how even his best qualities are being outshone by newcomers. When I look at the midfields of Manchester City, Liverpool and dare I say it, Tottenham, I believe Ramsey would struggle to make their starting 11s. So, although I’m disappointed this is far from a disaster. With a good crop of youngsters emerging like Reiss Nelson and players like Alex Iwobi coming into their own, we may also find better alternatives emerging over the next 18 months. In addition, let’s hope Sven Mislintat is scanning for the Bernado Silva’s that will ease the pain of this goodbye.

What will be devastating is the fee we will get for him!

The plague of poor legacy practices like our contract management will take time to eradicate. With one year left on Ramsey’s deal, we won’t get the fee we deserve for a player of his calibre, but hopefully our new leadership can put in place the policies to prevent blunders like this from repeating. It’s now up to Emery to manage the team dynamic and ensure this doesn’t affect morale or performance.

All the best Aaron!

He has been a great servant to the club and always given his all. The tenacity he showed to come back from his horrific leg break is testament to his character as a player and as a man. I hope he gets a bumper deal at a top club and can kick on and fulfill his potential (not at a rival!). Just please make sure you help us back into the top four before you go.

Arsenal vs Watford preview

On Saturday we take on the in-form Watford at the Emirates. Javi Garcia has got the powerful Watford team playing with confidence and dynamism and they are fully deserving of their fourth-place position. We will struggle to match their physicality, so possession and speed of pass will be crucial. Our League Cup win against Brentford made it six wins on the bounce and with our strong form at the Emirates,  I’m confident we can make it seven. It’s true we are yet to find our rhythm and have rode our luck in recent games, but I still wouldn’t swap many of our eleven for Watford’s. As long as we don’t make silly mistakes we should have enough quality to secure the win.

Prediction: Arsenal 2 – 1 Watford

Come on Arsenal!!