Does Ramsey Justify a New Long-Term Deal?

Arsenal legend Paul Merson urged Aaron Ramsey to sign a new long-term contract amid fears Arsenal will lose him for free next summer.

Media speculation claims both Chelsea and Manchester United are keeping tabs on his situation. The same reports declare the 28-year-old is yet to receive anything concrete in terms of a new deal. Ramsey can speak with European clubs from January and the Welshman has never hidden his desire to play abroad.

Merson believes he should be grateful for his continued role at the heart of the Gunners squad. The former England international insisted the midfielder “plays every week for Arsenal”. He could “go somewhere else and [only] play 15 games”; the grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence.

Being a bit-part player is not something the 28-year-old midfielder in the prime of his career should contemplate. At the moment, injuries and Unai Emery’s search for his best XI means Ramsey flits between the bench and starting line-up.

After starting in the 2-0 opening day defeat to Manchester City, Ramsey was only a second-half substitute at Chelsea. The two teams drew four of last season’s five encounters, which suggested another draw was possible at Stamford Bridge. However, the Gunners’ new-look defence crumbled in the first half-hour and succumbed to a late Marcos Alonso winner.

Despite the short-term issue of bedding-in Arsenal’s new defensive recruits, the future of Ramsey remains a major concern for many Arsenal fans. 2013-14 remains Ramsey’s peak season. After years of injuries which threatened to thwart his development, he scored 16 goals. He hasn’t been close to that tally since with many months spent in the club’s treatment room.

Arsène Wenger retained his faith in Ramsey despite his injury problems but will Emery do the same?

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The Emirates’ hierarchy has been locked in negotiations with Ramsey over a new deal for over a year. The Welshman canned talks for several months as he waited to see what the club planned to do about Wenger’s future. This summer talks resumed following the Frenchman’s departure and a seeming reinvigoration of the squad.

The absence of a deal, however, fuelled talk of him leaving this summer. Chelsea’s new coach Maurizio Sarri was keen on the Welshman prior to the arrival of Mateo Kovacic on a season-long loan, for whom there is no option to buy. Sarri may look to rekindle his interest in Ramsey when the January transfer window opens.

Another potential destination for Ramsey is Old Trafford. Manchester United were beaten to his signature as a teenager when he left Cardiff, despite announcing a deal on their website. United began this season in alarming fashion, with Monday night’s capitulation to Tottenham the nadir.

Jose Mourinho’s relationship with the board is said to be fractured at best while Paul Pogba’s relationship with the Portuguese is reported to have broken down entirely. Barcelona are poised to move for the Frenchman in January. Ramsey is a safe replacement for Pogba, offering creativity in the final third and an added goal threat for the Red Devils.

Ramsey’s current contract is worth £110,000 a week but he and his advisors will demand a significant increase in his new deal. At 28, Ramsey is in his prime with this deal likely to be the biggest of his career.

Is Ramsey Held In High Esteem?

Arsenal played hardball on wages and transfer fees during Wenger’s reign, but the club opened its chequebook this summer. Ozil’s £350,000-per-week contract made him the highest-paid player in Arsenal’s history but will be light years from what Ramsey commands. Yet the Wales international deserves a significant wage increase for his service and status.

Unai Emery’s reign began with a whimper rather than a bang, but the post-Wenger era was always going to take time. Whether Emery holds Ramsey in the same esteem as the Frenchman remains to be seen.

At the moment, he needs him onside with his experience useful for coaxing the best from newcomers like Guendozi. The Premier League is a tough place to learn your trade and youngsters need all the help they can get.

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