Andy Williams claimed Solitaire was the only game in town but for Aaron Ramsey, it’s how to rekindle his love affair with Arsenal. He hasn’t fallen out of love with club but it seems the club is less enamoured with him than before.
We don’t know the ins and outs of what went on but there are rumours flying around that his agents were part of the problem. They were certainly quick with Twitter putdowns so it’s surprising there are claims they ignored the club.
Not as surprising as the suddenness of Arsenal pulling out of the deal. Or is it? The news filtered out around a week after Ivan Gazidis’ departure from the club was announced. I don’t think there would be much surprise if the two events were found to be linked.
A new management team in place and a different perspective on player performance? It’s bound to happen, particularly with Ramsey who doesn’t fit snugly into Emery’s formation. His is a ‘square peg’ role at the moment; while he could quite easily sit alongside Torreira, there’s no usurping Granit Xhaka from the line-up. Personally, I don’t like Ramsey on the right as it wastes his strengths although it is the only role available.
His situation is another chip away at the foundations laid by Arsene. Form is transient and so is your place in the team. It’s Unai Emery’s way or the highway; the breakdown in talks suggests the latter for the Wales international.
It’s fairly obvious that he doesn’t want to go:
Am I disappointed? That’s a decision that they have made and things happen in football and you just have to get on with it and carry on playing the best I can.Aaron Ramsey on leaving Arsenal
What Are We Trying To Achieve?
There was suitable vagueness about his immediate future. Unai Emery reportedly said he doesn’t expect Ramsey’s effort to drop and nor do I. He isn’t that kind of player. Even in a bad game, he continues to put the effort in.
After scoring the winning goal in two FA Cup finals, it’s strange he remains a Marmite player. There doesn’t seem to be any indifference toward him; you either love him or hate him.
We have five players out of contract next summer. Two goalkeepers, Lichtsteiner, Monreal, Welbeck; Nacho is in talks but there’s nothing on the other four. Personally, I’d renew Lichtsteiner and keep Cech around for experience to bring young goalkeepers through. A player/coach role with Martinez or Macey as domestic cup goalkeeper.
Welbz? To be honest, if we receive an offer, take it. He’s a good squad player to have and maybe that suits him, but if it doesn’t then so be it. I won’t lose sleep.
Things like this raise questions about Ivan’s leadership. He was, it seems, all-consumed by the power battle with Arsene. Contracts were badly managed with clusters of deals allowed to hold the same expiry date. That we haven’t moved on at any speed is no surprise. Gazidis wasn’t ruthless enough to say ‘sign or sell’. Nor was he powerful enough.
That was then but it drew us to now. More objectivity about players? That’s certainly the new regime in operation. Ramsey slipped from crown prince to pauper. The team of which he was to be the focal point, is now passing him by.
A goal and three assists so far this season isn’t mind-changing form no matter how exquisite the finish. The stats are in keeping with recent seasons but not making Ramsey indispensable. But if you
Talking is Easy
Whatever the outcome – be it a sale in January or otherwise – there is no reason to believe his performance levels will dip. He’s in the shop window with a point to prove.
Is this the new way forward for Arsenal? Let’s hope so…
Elsewhere, Thierry Henry is the new Monaco coach. It’s a rapid rise from the ‘hasty’ FAW coaching badge via the Arsenal youth and Belgium. 18th in Ligue Un? If he turns that round into a European place, Henry will be assured an almost God-like status.
It will also the beg the question of the wisdom of falling out with a youth coach who liked the pundit sofa…