Picture the scene: you’re one of the best central midfielders on the planet and just getting better.
You haven’t hit your prime and you know, as do those around you, that you’ve barely scratched the surface of what you can achieve in this game we all love so much. You can change games, win games, clinch trophies and deliver moments of genius when allowed to shine in the role you were designed to play.
How long would you tolerate being stopped from doing that?
As a mere mortal, playing for Arsenal would be enough for me. I wouldn’t care where Mr Wenger stuck me, but Aaron Ramsey is no mere mortal. He is an elite athlete with skills I can’t even manage in my dreams.
Football careers are short and Aaron’s will be shorter than most, having already been robbed of a significant chunk because he went to Stoke when he was just 18. He’s already expressed a desire to play in Spain one day and his displeasure at playing out wide has been repeated often. Rumblings from Barca have already started with them dipping their toe in the water via the media and reports of a £50m bid.
Some people might draw a parallel with losing Cesc Fabregas to Barcelona however the only thing that is similar here is that the two players are/were both young and at the top of their game.
There was an inevitability to Cesc returning home that isn’t the case here. Arsene Wenger also went out of his way to accommodate the Spaniard, changing his style of play and building his side around Fabregas. He is not doing that with Ramsey, but a very strong argument could be made that he should be.
It’s only a matter of time before one of the big boys come-a-knocking for real, or, as it should probably be put, Real come-a-knocking for Rambo.
Will he be able to resist? Are Arsenal making it as hard as possible for him to turn them down?
It certainly doesn’t seem like it and that’s more than a little concerning.