Were William Congreve writing today, he’d sit back, pipe in mouth, pleased as punch with his work. Sipping his celebratory glass of port, he’d tease his Twitter followers with 140 characters:
Mourning Bride coming along nicely. In theatres 2019: Heav’n has no rage, like love to hatred turn’d, Nor hell a fury, like a woman scorned,
Once he’d waded through all the abuse and fawning replies, he’d come across one which intrigues him:
Yeah, it’s good and clever but completely wrong. Check out Arsenal Twitter now Aaron Ramsey’s leaving
You can feel the sense of deflation in your mind’s eye.
Football supporters turning on a former hero is nothing new. Players left in the past and were called Judas or some variant of that, usually “F***ing Judas!” We assumed everyone else thought more or less the same but couldn’t be sure unless the terrace chant went up.
Now, just check social media for your answer. As with most things on twitter, knees jerked faster than a dose of St Vitus Dance.
According to the Book of Ornstein:
The four-year agreement was in place but before a final contract was drawn up, Arsenal pulled out.What Gazidis giveth, Sanllehi taketh away
And so ends the stay of Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal, or at least that’s how it looks. The timeline snuggles nicely into the theory that Ivan’s departure is the catalyst for the club’s change of heart. In the past, it’s been claimed Ramsey is close to Gazidis; I don’t know if that’s true but it fits the narrative now.
Whatever the reason – and nobody would talk to Ornstein last night – Arsenal face losing Ramsey for nothing in June. That’s a calculated decision on the hierarchy’s part and there will be maths to back it up.
It’s A Big Fag Packet
Fag packet economics is a dangerous game but I’ve indulged in it. By my reckoning, the net benefit in financial terms of not paying Ramsey £250k per week but losing a fee of £35m, is around £45m.
Modern bloody football. Turns fans into accountants.
Anyway, so the sums add up. Ramsey is on his last big payday which Arsenal were ready to meet but now aren’t. I don’t blame the player for his demands whatever they were – and I plucked £250k out of the air – because we made a rod for our own backs with Ozil.
So far, you’ll note I haven’t passed comment on Ramsey’s stay. I’m almost reluctant to do so because it makes this piece an obituary.
He is a Marmite player which for a man who scored the winning goal in two FA Cup finals, is quite surprising. I’d expect someone with that track record to be close to a club icon and for some he is. But not everyone.
After the diabolical tackle from Shawcross and his Ramsey’s journey back to fitness, his career exploded in 2013-14 with a goal almost every other game on average. The stepping stone to something bigger?
There were hints and signs that it might be. But for the most part, Ramsey did a good job as far as I’m concerned, of being a square peg shoved habitually into a round hole. He never played in the central role which brings the best out of him. It’s not compatible with late-era Wenger’s style.
Emery made a play of telling the world Ramsey was the lynchpin of the future. Flannel or keeping in with the boss (Gazidis) on Emery’s part? An equal measure of both, I think. The new boss, however, is not the same as the old boss.
A Decade In The Making
Ramsey’s case isn’t helped by the emergence of Emile Smith-Rowe or Matteo Guendouzi’s form since arriving at the club. There’s bags of potential there in players who seem a more natural fit with Emery’s thinking.
Maybe that’s what the catalyst for change really is. Half-a-dozen games and over 100 training sessions; it could be as simple as Unai Emery changing his mind over the player.
Certainly with the two youngsters I’ve mentioned, there’s a feeling Ramsey is expendable. The question is whether we’ll get a fee and see the £45m benefit boost to £80m to be spent elsewhere?
I’m not convinced we will unless January sees an offer Ramsey feels he can’t refuse. As I said yesterday, I don’t see Chelsea wanting him but is Mourinho’s United the right place for anyone?
Whatever the outcome, I hope time will give him the respect due for his service. In years gone by, he’d have been due a testimonial last year. 10 years at a club and his legacy is a stream of abuse on social media. Something’s not right with the way the modern fan looks at the game.
We’ll see if history is a kinder judge.