Former Arsenal defender Martin Keown has today hit out at the Gunners’ board over their inability to tie Aaron Ramsey down to a new contract.
Ramsey to leave Arsenal
28-year-old Welsh international Ramsey has been on the books of Arsenal for 10 years now.
However, despite having racked up 63 goals in over 300 appearances for the Gunners, and having previously been considered an integral member of the club’s midfield ranks, a change in formation under new manager Unai Emery has seen the Cardiff youth product’s game-time dwindle thus far this season.
Emery has thus far deployed a midfield pairing containing two deep-lying players.
All of Granit Xhaka, Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi represent more suitable options in such a role than Ramsey.
As such, it was confirmed by several high-profile sources in November that the Welshman’s expiring contract at the Emirates will not be renewed, and that Ramsey will leave the club either on a free transfer in the summer, or for a reduced fee this month.
Juve in front
Serie A giants Juventus lead a host of European heavyweights in the race for Ramsey’s signature, with outlets across Italy in agreement that the goalscoring midfielder is ready to take his medical with the Bianconeri as early as next week, ahead of a bosman summer switch.
The reliable David Ornstein of BBC Sport, though, insists that Ramsey ‘has yet to make a final decision’. As such, the likes of PSG, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan and Liverpool remain in contention for the Gunners’ star.
‘Left Emery with his hands tied’
Whatever the case may be regarding where exactly Ramsey ends up, one individual who feels as though Arsenal are making a mistake in allowing their no. 8 to depart the club for nothing is club legend Martin Keown.
Former Gunners’ hard-man Keown labels the combination of the lack of funds available to Unai Emery this month, and Ramsey’s imminent departure as ‘staggering’.
Speaking in an interview with the Daily Mail, Keown explained:
‘If Arsenal are admitting they are only able to sign loan players, then it is staggering that they are happy to let one of their prized assets leave for nothing.’
‘Juventus looks the most likely destination for Aaron Ramsey when his contract runs out at the end of the season. The Italian champions must be rubbing their hands together.’
‘Ramsey has conducted himself with great dignity this season but it is astonishing that Arsenal, a powerhouse in the English game, could not put together a package to keep him.’
‘The team are still formidable going forward. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette are good enough to grace any team in the Premier League’s top six.’
‘But the £100 million spent to sign those players last season and hefty wages given to other star players has led to this situation.’
‘Unai Emery must look at his back line – where they are short at centre half – and wish he could bring in reinforcements. After all, Arsenal are only three points off the top four.’
‘Emery is finding that decisions made before he arrived have left him with his hands tied.’