On Aaron Ramsey and Bond Villains

Lazio await in the final pre-season match in Stockholm – of course – after which, it’s all about the Premier League season.

Unai Emery received his ‘Arsenal welcome’ when he lost Sead Kolasinac for 8 – 10 weeks. It seemed innocuous at the time, with the left-back’s concern precautionary. Instead, we find he’s one step short of amputation and missing for the best part of three months.

We know the Spaniard is meticulous in his planning and this will upset those fine ideas. Fortunately, we’ve got Ainsley Maitland-Niles to deputise when Nacho Monreal needs a rest. While Kolasinac isn’t a central plank of our season, his absence forces adjustments and reshuffles.

Broken promises as well, to those square pegs previously played in round holes. No more of that under the new regime, they promised, fingers crossed behind their backs. The ill-winds of footballing fortunes quickly wrought their havoc across those fine words.

But it is the question of Aaron Ramsey which vexes. His calf is tight and the medical team are hopeful that he will train next week. No sense in rushing him back for a meaningless friendly; surely everyone agrees on that?

It’s the only thing we do all agree on as far as his is concerned. The lack of public progress in contract talks pushes the boundaries of support to the extremes. Sell him! Keep him! Flog him! Hang, draw and quarter him! Tar and feather him! Take him to Traitor’s Gate!

Being a footballer in contract talks is tough once the initial gasp of awe following the news that negotiations have begun. If a new deal isn’t signed on the spot, questions hang over a player. Is he loyal? He didn’t play well – is he distracted by his situation?

All this before the plaintive cries of ‘Sign da ting’ begin.

Pointing Out The Flaws

Maybe he will, perhaps not. What is certain is that Ramsey won’t be sold next week unless silly money is offered. Which it won’t be, of course. The received wisdom is that European giants are waiting, poised to strike after the English transfer window closes for purchases.

It’s a fine idea but flawed. There’s no evidence beyond West Ham, that clubs are stockpiling players and will be desperate to sell after 9th August. Certainly, there’s no sign clubs will sell star players after that point. With the exception of Manchester City, few – if any – have the squad depth to do so without missing a beat.

So, talk of driving prices down may be true for the fringe players in squads, but the broadcasting deals will ease that pain. The reality is that there isn’t much interest in the Premier League’s elite players. Wages are too high and the quality too low. Not necessarily in the same players, I agree.

However, to be brutally honest, there are few Premier League players who occupy the ‘must have’ strata. Real Madrid must have a new goalkeeper and few are better than Courtois. He’ll be sold this week so Chelsea can land a replacement who is better than Willy Caballero. Which is setting the bar low.

Ramsey is in the cluster of players who might do well abroad. Five little letters which almost damn him, but not quite. I don’t see him in an elite club; no Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, or Bayern for him. Quality of players already at those clubs and a style not really suited to those countries. He can adapt, I know that, but Wales bring the best out of him thanks to their style. It’s not one you see very often in the Champions League, is it?

While Stating The Bleedin’ Obvious

In some respects, he is similar to David Platt but the former England man edges the battle between the two for me. There was a cleverness, an awareness of nuances in Platt that Ramsey doesn’t quite have. Or have to the same degree. It’s no criticism of Ramsey, just an observation of the two.

But it’s a moot point. Arsenal aren’t going to sell Ramsey unless they have to and that decision won’t be taken now. A January sale is a possibility but that depends on his form and where the club is. Hurtling toward the Champions League places will see Ramsey kept; sliding into oblivion and he’s gone, replaced by the next shiny thing to be worshipped.

There is another aspect to this. I don’t think Ramsey wants a move to another Premier League club. There’s a notion at the back of my mind which claims he wants to be thought of as a club legend. Unless he scores a last-minute winner to claim the title elsewhere, there’s only Arsenal where he achieves that. Already with a decade served at the club, five more years and he’s (almost) unique in the Premier League era.

Tonight’s game will see Torreira and Xhaka given match time. We know because Unai told us so earlier this week. Beyond that, the XI will hint at the team to face Manchester City. The central defensive pairings are all showing different vulnerabilities, the weaknesses of each player exacerbated by their partners’ own foibles.

Little wonder we’re linked with Bond villain Domagoj Vida, a man whose brutality was never knowingly understated at the World Cup. But only if we sell Shkodran Mustafi and Danny Welbeck. We’re not signing anyone next week, are we?

Enjoy tonight’s match wherever you are watching it.

’til Tomorrow.

 

36 thoughts on “On Aaron Ramsey and Bond Villains

  1. At this rate Ramsey will sign his new contract before the aclf results are published. Both are equally eagerly anticipated.

  2. Have to say, few maybe better than Courtious but Navas is a DAMN good GK who is a 3 time CL winning GK and is VASTLY underrated. He has saved Madrid’s ass quite a number of times and his stylr is perfectly suited because he is lighting quick off the line in his sweeper keeper role, is a strong unit and plays so much bigger than his frame might suggest. Plus, he is big match tested and proven.

  3. Great post yogi. Thanks as always. I agree that Ramsey is probably going to stay and I suspect he will sign a contract at some point. He is a good player and I think he certainly belongs in our starting 11 but he is not Frank Lampard and I doubt he will have the world beating his door down with high dollar contract offers.

  4. Can’t remember who took me to see ‘They Shoot Horses Don’t They?’ — as a child.
    They should have been shot for doing so.

    Agree with your assessment on Ramsey’s wanting to remain. Aaron doesn’t seem to have enough mercenary in him– to put the club in a tough spot. Too, PL salaries are approaching the point where in some cases you might be getting the same value from a player by letting them play out– than to extend their deal. It might be fair to say that Arsenal got their £20M in value from Wilshere last season. Extending Jack’s deal, was an algebraic that Sanllehi and Famhy had formulated last January on– that Emery agreed with. But not more.

    IMO, when you have the analytics mettle and management savvy to find and sign those of Mavropanos, Torreira, Guendouzi quality– Arsenal are outpacing the clubs behind and gaining on those ahead.

    So what of AR? Likely, as you project YW. Based on how things look at Christmastime.

    If I were SIRE (Sven/Ivan/Raul/Emery)? Would happily sell Mustafi to bring Vida in. But with Perez having moved, would like to find a way to keep Welbeck. Whatever Danny’s shortcomings– his effort pegs the needle every time.

    (Michael– If you’re using Chrome go to: Settings > Advanced > Passwords and forms
    The two items below govern that feature. ‘Clearing your browser cache’ can be a help too.)

    jw1

  5. YW

    Good luck to Lucas Perez. Its a suprise to me that anyone would pay us that much money for Perez. For a player with such a completely underwhelming career he certainly generated a lot of interest from a segment of the fan base and a lot of gnashing of teeth about his being mistreated by Arsene. He took over the Joel Campbell role on the squad and with the fans. I think the reality is that Perez was never meant to be someone who would play regular minutes and I suspect he was purchased as an insurance policy because we needed cover until Welbeck came back from injury.

  6. One other talking point from the post YW. I believe we often overthink the idea of square pegs and round holes. If we do sign Ramsey then Maitland-Niles will be either 5th or 6th in the pecking order for 2 or 3 spots so he will probably be very happy to get minutes at LB. He did reasonably well when he played that position last season. Fullback has historically been the easiest position on the pitch to transition into and there is no reason that AMN could not be a good fullback and the fact that he can play on both sides of the pitch is an advantage for him, although obviously he would be better at RB.

  7. Are the club and the agent going back and fore with offers/demands? Or has nothing happened since the last exchange (whenever it was)?
    His current injury is inconvenient (for him) and would not be the first time he has had one that initially seemed minor but which dragged on and on.
    I have a hunch that how well Arsenal start the season will have an effect on negotiations: good start – pressure on Ramsey to sign; poor start – pressure on club.
    A crystal ball would help but mine is in the shop.

  8. C

    I thought Sporting was the club that took Joel Campbell on loan. That didn’t work out very well for them. However, from their standpoint they didn’t have to pay a transfer fee and Arsenal probably subsidized some of his wages. I would be very surprised if they were willing pay a transfer fee and full wages for Lucas Perez. I can’t imagine that Perez would be willing to take a pay cut on order to facilitate a move at this point in his career.

  9. Bill,

    Given the current state at Sporting, a 4m transfer fee is not much given the players that have left and some of the fees they got for him. The othet thing is that Campbell went on loan because Arsenal wanted 10-15m for him at the time. Also, it didn’t work out, that happens quite a lot and not just at Arsenal…see Batshuyo at Chelsea playing superbly at Dortmund but while they wanted him on a permanent they didn’t want to pay the price Chelsea wanted Or Roma and Szczesny who is now #1 at Juve. Sporting had Gelson Martins coming through and is HIGHLY rated in Portgual and now he is at Atletico, so its not as black and white as you want or make it out to be.

  10. I just looked at the score. Nice to see nelson score and so far a clean sheet. Looks like iwobe in midfield based on the line up. I like that a lot. End product is not as critical when you are in midfield so he has a better chance to make it if he plays there rather then as a forward.

  11. I only watched the game from about the 56th minute.

    At that stage Ozil, Mikitaryn, Smith-Rowe and someone else came on.

    I was pleasantly surprised at how mobile Emery has got them.

    Mikitaryn pulled off an excellent tackle in our D, he covered a lot of ground from our box right up into the opposition’s box.

    I saw Aubmeyang tracking way back and covering Lichtensteiner at one stage.

    Ozil was fetching from deep and the Gouendouzi was constantly making himself available and covered a huge portion of the pitch.

    He and El Neny seemed to be a very good pairing in terms of working as a pair, one up, one back.

    In the time I watched I thought Gouendouzi and Mikitaryn were outstanding..

    Smith-Rowe had limited time but didn’t seem to be on his game tbh.

    Ozil’s control and vision was superb and one or two passes had me wondering how the hell he saw them.

    There’s no doubt still a lot of work to do but I was very pleasantly surprised at how much movement there was and the amount of work all of the players are putting in.

    Very, very different from what we saw last season.

  12. And if someone posts a clip of Mikitaryn’s turn and instant nutmeg of the one Lazio player when he got the ball under pressure it was an exquisite bit of skill.

  13. Holding looks like he has a bit of a hard streak in him.

    He was quite obviously pissed off with the one Lazio player and just took him out at one point – got a yellow for it though.

    SokratisMavropanos and Mavropanos came on for Holding and Chambers for the last bit and I was quite pleasantly surprised by Mavropanos not letting Ingrid the one Lazio forward get the better of him when he beat the press.

    Mavropanos kept pace with him and forced him to the outside, so a great bit of defending that last season would have seen the attacker clear through on goal.

  14. Between arbitrary autocorrect and my tired eyes with no glasses on there are some pretty odd typos coming out.

  15. We need to sell some players. Campbell, DW or Perez, Ospina, a few other fringe. If Ramsey won’t sign, maybe we need to sell him now but I don’t think there are that many clubs after him.

  16. Limestonegunner:
    We need to sell some players.Campbell, DW or Perez, Ospina, a few other fringe.If Ramsey won’t sign, maybe we need to sell him now but I don’t think there are that many clubs after him.

    We seem to be already getting way more out of players than we saw last season.

    Mikitaryn is reminding me more and more of Cazorla, and in the bit I saw was really operating box to box.

    With the depth we seem to now have I think you’re right about being able (and needing), to move some players on.

    I must say I’d like to see Welbeck under Emery.

    I know he’s not everyone’s favorite, but I really like his work rate and attitude.

    It just worries me that we’ve heard nothing from him and he’s also in his last year, so might well be a candidate to leave.

  17. MikeSA,

    I’m happy to keep DW if we sell Perez. Versatile forward.

    I loved that dribble by Mkh. He is another one we could play deeper and get more from him. If Ramsey is injured or goes, perhaps he can pair with Torreira in 4231, like Cazorla did with Coquelin.

  18. I did not see the game but just looking at the box score the best things was keeping a clean sheet. Lazio is a team we will probably see if we go deep in the Europa league and they were the highest scoring team in Serie A last season. The other important thing is PEA scoring. PEA and Lacazette are the only legitimate threats to score a goal that we have in the squad. We will need a huge season from PEA and a really solid season from Lacazette. Its a very tall order but we probably need 40-45 league goals between them if we hope to climb back into the top 4.

  19. I am not the biggest fan of Danny Welbeck but we almost have to keep him. If we sell him our only back up forwards will be Perez, Eddie, Iwobe and Reiss Nelson. That is not going to work.

  20. C:
    Bill,

    Given the current state at Sporting, a 4m transfer fee is not much given the players that have left and some of the fees they got for him.The othet thing is that Campbell went on loan because Arsenal wanted 10-15m for him at the time.Also, it didn’t work out, that happens quite a lot and not just at Arsenal…see Batshuyo at Chelsea playing superbly at Dortmund but while they wanted him on a permanent they didn’t want to pay the price Chelsea wanted Or Roma and Szczesny who is now #1 at Juve.Sporting had Gelson Martins coming through and is HIGHLY rated in Portgual and now he is at Atletico, so its not as black and white as you want or make it out to be.

    Things like this are not always as black and white as I see them but they are rarely as technical complicated as you see them. There are usually not uncontrollable extenuating circumstances that cause players to struggle. Each situation is a little different but easily the overwhelmingly most common reason when a player like Joel Campbell or Lucas perez does not meet expectations is the player was not as good as we had thought

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