Arsenal are reportedly close to tying Aaron Ramsey down to a new long-term contract in what could well be one of their best moves of the summer.
The club and the player have been in negotiations for a while and with his wife recently announcing that the couple are expecting twins, it looks as if Ramsey will opt for stability over a new challenge somewhere else in the world.
According to the Telegraph, who are generally quite reliable when it comes to Arsenal news and gossip, “Arsenal are currently close to agreement with Aaron Ramsey on a new contract, although today’s transfer window deadline day will be more about who leaves, with the club open to selling striker Danny Welbeck and goalkeeper David Ospina.”
Unai Emery has already said that he wants Ramsey to be one of his five captains and it’s clear the Spaniard rates him and wants to keep him at the club. For Ramsey’s part, he has never indicated that he would like to leave beyond saying he wouldn’t mind playing for Barcelona one day. And that was a few years back.
Ramsey recently made it clear that he wanted assurances over his on-pitch position before he would sign a new deal with Arsenal.
Speaking while on tour in Singapore with the club, the midfielder was asked about the status of his contract negotiations with Arsenal as he enters the last year of his deal.
Now Arsenal’s longest-serving player, Ramsey has been offered a five-year deal by the club as well as a substantial pay increase on the £110kpw he currently earns. ‘Footballing reasons’ are causing the hold-up, according to Ramsey.
At first glance, it’s easy to think this is just a coded way of saying ‘more money’ however the rest of Ramsey’s interview made it clear this is about a guarantee that he will play in the middle of the pitch, not out wide.
“We are communicating,” Ramsey said. “My agent and the club are speaking but are yet to come to an agreement… for football reasons.
“This is a great club to be at and I’m excited to get going under this manager. We’re just yet to come to an agreement.
“It’s my decision,” he continued. “Whatever I decide to do, that’s on me. Do I feel under pressure? No. The only thing that makes it awkward is you keep asking the questions. It’s like having a baby in the car saying ‘Are we there yet, are we there yet?’
“I’m a player who always gives 100 per cent regardless of what’s going on. I will give everything to achieve something special this season. I’ve got a year left and I’m looking forward to being in an Arsenal shirt in the new season. We have to come to an agreement with what we want, so maybe something might happen.
“[my preferred position is] In the middle of the park!
“I’ve made it clear many, many times that I don’t like playing out wide.
“It hasn’t happened to me at club level before where a new manager has come in. You have to give everything in every session and every game.
“So if he likes what he sees, he likes what he sees. If he doesn’t, he doesn’t. It’s important for a new manager to make his ideas clear. He’s passionate, tactically we’ve been doing a lot of work. I’m excited. All the players are looking forward to this.”
Reports have it that Emery is an admirer of the Welshman which is not surprising. The Spaniard is believed to particularly like Ramsey’s ‘lung-busting runs’ as well as his vision, touch, and knack for scoring important goals.
There are calls from some sections of the Arsenal fan base to make Ramsey club captain ahead of the new season and you won’t get many arguments about that around these parts. First, though, they need to make him sign a new deal.
Emery will name five captains ahead of the season, an approach common in Spain, apparently. Ramsey’s name is, of course, in the mix.
“The captaincy is a massive responsibility and it would be an honour to captain this club,” Ramsey said, smiling.
“The manager is yet to decide so we’ll have to wait and see. But if the opportunity is there, I don’t think any player would say no. I’m no different.”