We’ve had a great recruitment drive to welcome in the Unai Emery era, with Bernd Leno, Stephane Lichtsteiner, Matteo Guendouzi, Sokratis and Lucas Torreira whizzing through the checkout to bolster our lines.
They add depth and in some cases a vast improvement over what we had previously, but there is one signing that some see as the lynchpin to a successful side.
Aaron Ramsey is yet to sign an extension on his current deal, which is entering the final year. From December, the midfielder can enter into talks with interested parties – of which there will be a smorgasbord.
Ramsey has come on leaps and bounds, and even in a malfunctioning midfield, has offered attacking excellence and a huge desire in the side – something we have been bereft of recently. The Welshman is truly growing into an excellent box-to-box role, and now entering his peak years, the next few seasons could see Ramsey make a huge impact on the league.
Emery’s fresh tactics and training methods are apt to get a few extra percent from the existing players, pushing them harder than previously. It means we will have a tighter unit, and with more competition for places, our eleven will be hungry to impress on the pitch.
Ramsey is understandably patient when it comes to signing a new deal. This next one will be his biggest, but it will be downhill after this deal, as he enters his thirties and the nadir of his career. His style of play relies on his engine, and no matter how superhuman you are, players can’t maintain those levels for as long.
So, he wants assurances that if he gives his best years, then he will get something back. That he will be able to leave as big an indelible mark on football as his talent allows. Can Arsenal match his ambition? Or will his peak years go to waste?
Plus, finances come into play too. Ramsey and his negotiating party will know that the demands they put in can be high, as Arsenal will know that if they don’t meet them, another club won’t hesitate.
Ramsey could benefit hugely from the sentinel-like presence of Lucas Torreira behind him. Another feather in the cap of a proposed extended deal would be a possible switch to a 3-man midfield, giving him the long-range passing of Xhaka to feed from.
The midfielder’s late runs in the box are a nightmare to mark for opposing teams, and it is no coincidence that he scores late goals – his stamina levels combined with tired legs of defenders mean Rambo normally hits when it matters – but could he be doing it in another shirt?
2018/19 is his tenth year at Arsenal – and three FA Cups is a good haul for most clubs – but Ramsey wants more – and deservedly so. For us to call ourselves a big club means we must view this trophy haul as underachievement.
Ramsey has a big call to make – the biggest of his career. If he stays with us he could go on to become one of our biggest names amongst a litany of shining stars.
If he decides that he’s better off elsewhere, then he’ll become another name that belongs to the ‘what if’ brigade – when we look at former players and wish that they had stayed, knowing they could have given us much more.